Seagull attacks: What is the Inverkeithing Gull Initiative – and how did it help?

A public meeting was held in Inverkeithing in August 2019 following several years of resident complaints of nuisance gull activity, particularly within the Boreland area of the town.

By Craig Smith, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Wednesday, 9th February 2022, 9:51 am

Residents complained that the extent of the problem led to difficulty sleeping and some residents struggling to leave their homes without being attacked. Several incidents of gulls inflicting injury were recorded.

The scheme was launched within the Boreland estate in Inverkeithing in the spring of 2020 and is run by a committee of residents.

Households within the participating area can sign up to the scheme for a small sum of money, initially set at £30/year, which allows the committee to commission a private contractor on members behalf to remove nests and eggs throughout the breeding season.

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Picture Michael Gillen

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The contractor is responsible for applying to Nature Scotland for the relevant licencing and for the removal of eggs and nests.

To maximise the efficiency of the contractor time, residents aim to identify the location of nests within the estate in advance of each visit.

Visits are repeated every 3-4 weeks with a total of around 4 visits throughout the breeding season.

The frequency is timed to reflect the incubation period of eggs and ensures the gulls do not have time to re-build nests, lay eggs and hatch chicks between visits.

Of the 200 or so households within the estate, around 60% signed up to participate.

The scheme is about to enter its third year of operation and residents have reported a significant improvement in the quality of life on the estate.

Despite the inherent limitation in not every household being signed up and some nests not being identified, the estate has recorded an 86% reduction in nests resulting in chicks with a corresponding reduction in the aggressive behaviour associated with parent gulls.

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