Seagulls look nice and harmless, but in truth they can be dangerous, especially when you have food in your hands. Pictures by Bill Heaney
By Hamish McTavish
Lots of people – despite how much they themselves consider that councillors are well liked and efficient at what they do – think that members [and officials] of West Dunbartonshire Council are away with the birds.
This may or may not be true, but the chosen ones are upset about the nuisance seagulls cause.
Especially during the breeding season when these birds, when attempting to protect their young, swoop on people and animals.
Dumbarton High Street and the area around the Quay on the River Leven are particularly dangerous places to be especially around lunchtime when people are taking their lunchtime break.
This is an old story for Dumbarton where the birds have waddled into shops in search of food or snatched the sandwiches, sausage rolls, Scotch pies and even fish suppers out of the hands of people making their way back to the office.
It’s not a good idea to eat anything while you are sitting on the park benches down the Quay.
The Council introduced a service in 2014 for gulls nesting on domestic properties.
The service relies on homeowners contacting the Council to remove nests and eggs from rooftops at the start of the breeding season.
On Thursday a motion from Cllrs John Millar and Martin Rooney will go before a meeting when concern will be expressed that the gull population seems to be increasing.
And, if accurate, then this could lead to increases in increase nuisance.
Cllr Millar will ask Chief Executive Joyce White to write to the Scottish Government to establish whether there is anything that can be done in partnership with local Councils to manage the number of gulls and reduce their impact on our communities.
And will ask his fellow councillors to promote the special egg collection service in advance of next year’s breeding season.
Councillor Iain McLaren SNP has added a cautionary note stating that the motion should include the fact that the Council is concerned that there has been a sharp decline in natural-nesting gull populations since 1969 (as reported by the Seabird Monitoring Programme in 2019) and that many species, including the herring gull, are currently on the red list of Birds of Conservation Concern.
He wishes them to note that it is illegal to cull these birds, and that council policy on how and when nests may be removed from roofs is already in line with nationwide legislation.
The Council will request that after the current Seabirds Census (2015-2021) is published a briefing will be arranged for members to present and discuss its findings.