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Gulls in Dumfries and Heathhall

Gulls are a nuisance in Dumfries and Heathhall. The Council has no statutory duty to take action against gulls but some powers are available to allow us to tackle the problem of gulls.

The main issues with gulls in Dumfries and Heathhall relate to:

  • Attacking, swooping and dive bombing
  • Stealing food
  • Creating noise
  • Making mess

Several species of gulls visit the town from time to time. However, Herring Gulls (11%) and Lesser Black Backed Gulls (89%) are the two main types of gulls most commonly nesting in Dumfries and Heathhall.

Gulls begin mating in April and building nests in early May. Two or three eggs are laid at a time and are incubated for approximately 24 - 30 days. Chicks will leave the nest around 42 days after hatching and become fully independent once they can fly around July or August. Gulls take 4 years to mature to adulthood.

What action can be taken against gulls?

It is generally illegal to capture, injure or destroy wild birds or interfere with nests or eggs. However, measures to protect public health or public safety, and prevent the spread of disease can be taken against some nuisance species.

Only an owner or occupier can take action against gulls nesting on their building(s), or they can give someone else permission to act on their behalf.

Any action taken must be legally justified and humane, inhumane action which could cause suffering is illegal. The use of poisons or drugs to take or kill any bird is specifically prohibited except under very special circumstances with a government licence. The Council is also particularly keen to discourage shooting of gulls.

Deterring gulls from nesting

All owners/occupiers of buildings which have, or may attract roof-nesting gulls can provide their building with suitable deterrent measures:

  • Fitting long spikes to nesting locations such as chimney-stacks
  • Fitting short spikes, contained in a special plastic base, to nesting locations such as dormer roofs
  • Fitting wires or nets to prevent gulls landing

It may be possible to reduce or break up the colonies of birds, if as many owners/occupiers as possible apply deterrent measures to their buildings.

What have the Council been doing to tackle gulls?

- A task force was set up with the aim of exploring all options to tackle the problems associated with nesting gulls.

2009 - Our Council assessed the effect of flying falcons in the town centre. The gulls were initially disturbed but were less agitated as they became more determined to breed. The free egg and nest removal service was introduced for residential properties throughout Dumfries and a number of commercial properties in the town centre. 1535 eggs were removed from 671 nests.

2010 - The free egg and nest removal service was opened up to all commercial and residential premises in Dumfries. 2950 eggs were removed from 1486 nests.

2011 - The free egg and nest removal service removed 3468 eggs and 1678 nests with 1115 visits to 290 properties.

2012 - The free egg and nest removal service removed 3776 eggs and 1642 nests with 842 visits to 275 properties.

2013 - The free egg and nest removal service removed 3268 eggs and 1777 nests with 700 visits to 333 properties.

2014 - The free egg and nest removal service was re-opened for residential and commercial properties in Dumfries and Heathhall. The scheme will run until the 31 July when the gull breeding season ends.

Reporting nest and incidents
Our Council continually collects information on the location of gull nests and incidents relating to gulls in Dumfries and Heathhall. Please notify us of any gull nests or incidents involving gulls that you are aware of.

What else can people do to help?

The main sources of food for the gulls in Dumfries are the River Nith, the Solway and surrounding agricultural land. However, gulls are opportunistic and will scavenge in the town, finding meals in waste bins and taking food when it is dropped on the ground.

  • Dispose of your litter properly
  • Please do not feed the gulls
  • Keep your food purchases out of sight

A reduction in the food the gulls can scavenge around the town will discourage the birds from foraging in Dumfries. 

Related Information

Contact Details


Environmental Standards (Dumfries)

Municipal Chambers
Buccleuch Street

Tel: 030 33 33 3000
Email this contact

Contact Dumfries and Galloway Council T: 030 33 33 3000

Council Offices
English Street

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