When you think of the British coast, you can’t help but think of the unmistakable call of a seagull. They’re so common on our coastline and it wouldn’t really be a trip to the Whitby without spotting them flying overhead or perching on the pier.
Whitby seagulls, or herring gulls and kittiwakes to use their proper names, are incredibly naughty! Our town is visited by lots excitable tourists each year who want to share a chip or two with the birds. This means they’re very well fed, calm around people, and incredibly greedy.
So, we’re asking you to help us look after the town and the wildlife that lives here. Please don’t feed the seagulls in Whitby.
Why shouldn’t you feed Whitby seagulls?
There are lots of reasons the town request that you keep all your tasty snacks to yourself. Your delicious portion of fish and chips and ice-cream cone is a great treat for you, but the birds aren’t able to digest it properly. Eating our fatty, salty foods is toxic to seagulls and causes them to get ill and can even prove fatal.
Giving them easy access to foods also stops them hunting properly for themselves. They get dependent on foods they shouldn’t really be eating. Because they don’t get the nutrients they need, they have to scavenge more food from us…it’s an unhealthy cycle that we need your help to break.
Thanks to the abundance of food they can steal, more and more gulls are moving to Whitby. With more local seagulls comes more successful breeding and even more mouths to feed! The birds are getting creative with where they nest, as all the cliff face is already full.
Nesting in trees, or on Whitby’s rooftops, can cause expensive damage to the town. Plus like all animal waste, their droppings can carry diseases. Greater gull populations increases the chances of illness.
And, because the birds are no longer really afraid of humans, that means they can get very bold in their search for food. They’re very happy to fly down and steal your ice cream from your hands with their beaks. This can be very scary as they’re large birds and often seem to swoop out of nowhere!
Have you witnessed a naughty gull?
If a gull has come and stolen your food, their noise is a nuisance to you, or their droppings and associated debris is causing you problems, you can report it.
Scarborough Borough Council have an urban gull incident reporting form that you can use. It helps the council to gather information on the gulls and informs further actions to keep the town and birds living harmoniously together.
You can access the form here: https://www.scarborough.gov.uk/seagulls