Bo’ness in a flap over seagull menace

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Questions are being asked about the menace posed by a fast growing population of seagulls which have made themselves at home in Bo’ness.

The Journal has received a litany of complaints about the birds whose conduct in the vicinity of the Hippodrome and beyond is giving grounds for concern.

Their droppings, ear-splitting cries, ever-expanding families and brazen bids to scoop up food at all hours have won them few fans – amidst fears that they are a health hazard.

And that’s just not good enough, according to residents like Linda Owens, who has a bird’s-eye view of the problem as her Stewart Avenue home faces the town’s roofs and the sea.

Linda said: “There are up to 40 gulls nesting in the area of the Hippodrome.

“It’s difficult to sleep at night because of their squawks. They land on our dormer roofs and the Bo’ness Public School roof. Their numbers have increased dramatically and have produced two young each. So perhaps we’ll have 90 gulls next year.

“Hence I am concerned that next year they will be double! I realise they are protected birds but in certain cases, something can be done with the eggs.

“I would imagine most property owners would not want the cost of anti-roosting devices or hawk scarers.

“Any passing buzzard who is immediately dive-bombed. They pester other medium sized birds so they have to move away.

“The problem is has only arisen in the last five years. I am getting the impression too that they might be getting fed in the early hours.”

However, a spokesperson for Falkirk Council said that the authority’s hands were tied and that the public had a role to play here.

She said:“Gulls can bring many problems to communities such as noise, fouling, property damage and can become aggressive especially in summer when they are nesting.

“Falkirk Council cannot deal with gulls directly as a nuisance for a household however, the biggest deterrent is not to provide food sources for gulls and ensuring that any waste food is disposed of correctly in closed containers.

“They are attracted by waste thrown away in streets especially and will ‘learn’ where rich pickings can be found locally.

“There is helpful advice and background information on the RSPB website www.rspb.org.uk under urban gulls that explains the law in relation to birds and what can and cannot be done.”