‘No one would condone taking a gun out to get rid of the squawking menaces’
10:13am Wednesday 5th September 2012 in Skipper
The long running issue of seagulls and the effect they have on everyday life in Falmouth was bought into sharp focus with one story this week. Police have issued a warning after a number of reports of birds being shot at with air rifles in the town centre.
Now, there cannot be many people who would condone taking a gun out in order to get rid of the squawking menaces, but similarly, there can only be a few of us who haven’t thought of the idea when being dive-bombed by one of the feathered fiends.
Living next to the sea brings with it a myriad of benefits, but gulls are certainly not going to be listed by many as an advantage of coastal life.
However, things never used to be this bad. The birds, although noisy and occasionally cheeky enough to steal an ice cream or sandwich from a child’s hand, were never around in such numbers to cause any real problems.
That is no longer the case, with population numbers spiralling seemingly every day. The reason behind the surge is not to do with any genetic change in the birds or a sudden change in the weather helping them breed, but simply because they are finding food so easy to scavenge.
Now, that has nothing to do with the amount of fish available, but is simply down to our own attitude towards rubbish and litter.
You only have to walk through Falmouth, Penryn or Helston on bin collection mornings to see exactly what I mean.
Black bags left out for collection have invariably been ripped to shreds by the birds, who have worked out that these flimsy plastic containers contain an untold number of treats.
The same goes for walking through town on a Friday or Saturday night, when you will see the birds helping themselves to discarded fast food on the streets.
The readily available food sources have allowed the birds to increase the number of times they breed each year - and the number of chicks which succesfully mature into adult birds - a double whammy leading to the population boom.
The message is simple, either we rethink the way we deal with refuse, or our seagull problem is only going to get worse.