COUNCIL chiefs are urging city residents to ‘feed the bins, not the gulls’, as the birds return to the city to start their breeding season.
The appeal is going out to make sure shoppers dispose of food properly when they’re out and about, by wrapping it up and putting it in the waste bin.
Posters, advice leaflets, social media messages, radio adverts and giant signs on the side of recycling and waste lorries are all being used to get the message across.
Worcester City Council is working with partners including Worcestershire Regulatory Services and Worcester BID (Business Improvement District) to raise awareness of the actions we can all take to limit the nuisance caused by gulls.
“Dropping the remains of sandwiches, kebabs, chips and other food in the street gives gulls an opportunity to feed, and encourages them to come into our city,” says Coun Joy Squires, chair of the City Council’s Environment Committee.
“Putting unfinished food straight into a litter bin can also encourage the birds to try to pull it out, so our advice is to wrap it up before you place it in a bin,” she added.
Alongside the ‘Feed the bins, not the gulls’ posters, advice and tips are being given to residents and employers to help them to take steps to reduce the impact of urban gulls in the city.
* Dispose of your waste food carefully and responsibly, when you’re at home or out and about
* Ensure waste food is wrapped up before putting it in a litter bin or your home wheely bin
* Don’t leave waste food hanging out of a bin
* Never drop your waste food on the floor
* Don’t overfill your bin so the lid can’t close properly
* Don’t feed birds in parks, open spaces or on the street
* Businesses should not leave waste out overnight, only putting it out for collection between 6am and 9.30am
* Businesses serving food outside should ensure tables are cleared quickly, and consider using parasols
* Use spikes, wires and netting on roofs (if it can be accessed safely) to deter gulls from landing
* At the end of the nesting season, usually September, remove any gulls’ nests and nesting materials from property. This can discourage them from coming back the next year.
Plans are also being developed to trial new litter bins in the city centre, designed to stop gulls from getting in to pull out food.
The City Council, working with Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS), is also extending the egg replacement programme that helps to control gull numbers.
The realistic fake eggs are placed in gulls’ nests and the birds continue to sit on them, without laying a replacement.
As a result, fewer chicks are hatched each year.
Since 2008 the number of breeding pairs of gulls in the city centre has fallen from 317 to 192, thanks in part to this egg replacement programme.