The well-known yodelling call of the herring gull conjures up pictures of the seaside perhaps more than any other sound.


Herring Gulls and Humans

The growing number and size of rubbish dumps, and of reservoirs, has encouraged the great increase in the herring gull population that has occurred over recent years. In some areas they have become a major nuisance where expanding colonies have spilled over on to rooftops, causing fouling and noise problems - even frightening people by swooping down and mobbing them!

In more natural habitats, herring gulls have caused problems for delicate species such as puffins and terns. Serious competition for space on cliffs, islands and dunes causes the gulls to drive other birds away, depriving them of breeding grounds. It has been necessary to cull in some areas in order to reduce the gulls' numbers. In 2020, Natural England set out changes to licences for the lethal control of herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls in England to protect these declining species.

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