Working with nature to tackle gull problem

Date 20/02/2018

Gwynedd Council is employing unique recruits to tackle problems relating to gulls near a primary school in Porthmadog.

Over the coming months, a specialist company using a falcon and a hawk, will be patrolling the skies above Ysgol Eifion Wyn and the nearby Glaslyn Leisure Centre to drive the nuisance gulls out of town.

Last year, Council officers worked to deal with problems caused by herring gulls that were flying down from the roof of the town’s leisure centre onto the Ysgol Eifion Wyn school yard. The gulls were nesting on the roof of the centre, and as some chicks had fallen down onto the school grounds the adult birds were a cause of concern for the school.

Gwynedd Council Cabinet Member, Councillor Dafydd Meurig said: “Gulls are an every day sight around the Gwynedd coast, and can in some cases cause real concern to local residents. Last year in particular, there was an issue in Porthmadog, where there were reports of gulls diving down onto the school yard which obviously caused distress for the pupils and staff.

“With gulls a protected species, the options available to address the problem are limited. However, after considering the situation, we came to the conclusion that the best way forward was to recruit the services of natural specialists to deal with the nuisance gulls. A specialist company will now be visiting the area on a regular basis over the coming months with a falcon and hawk to keep the gulls away.”

Ysgol Eifion Wyn headteacher, Carys Jones added: “The gulls were a real concern for a period last summer, and they can be quite terrifying especially for our younger pupils.

“We are delighted that we have been able to work with Gwynedd Council and the specialist company to find a way forward. As well moving the gulls on, we have been able to use the experience so that the pupils are able to learn more and meet the birds of prey that will be keeping the gulls away.”

The move has been welcomed by local Porthmadog county councillors, Nia Jeffreys and Selwyn Griffiths.

Councillor Nia Jeffreys is a school governor at Ysgol Eifion Wyn. She said: “I was shocked to see for myself aggressive seagulls swooping on people outside the school last summer. It was distressing for the children and worrying for parents. Staff and governors were very concerned.

“I know the gulls were protecting their chicks - so I am pleased Council staff have found an approach that works with nature and won’t harm the gulls.

“I hope the Council’s early action will stop the seagulls becoming a problem again and I look forward to seeing the birds of prey soaring in sunny skies over Porthmadog this summer.”

Porthmadog – West Councillor, Selwyn Griffiths added “As well as a local member, I am a grandfather to a pupil who attends the school.

“From my conversations at the school gate, I know that the seagulls have been a real concern to pupils and parents. I’m very pleased that the Council has listened to our concerns and taken these steps which we hope will resolve the problem.”