I would like to share with you a recent RSPB community blog on urban gulls in Scarborough, A tale of two seabirds – Kittiwakes and Herring Gulls in Scarborough is about the problems, as some perceive them, of living in proximity to these two urban-nesting gull species. More crucially it describes the wisdom of being clear to distinguish between them.
It is well worth reading the blog, written by The RSPB’s Helen Quayle, for yourself, but to give a simple, message – we can help by urging everyone to describe our urban seabirds by their correct names, most crucially by distinguishing Herring Gulls from Kittwakes. Their different behaviour and ecology means that the solutions to any conflicts between people and gulls nesting in our coastal resorts are not interchangeable between the species, as Helen explains.
Kittiwake fatalities due to badly installed or unmaintained bird exclusion netting have been sadly been happening in Scarborough for several years. While netting on numerous buildings does need sorting out, if it is to safely and legally deter the birds from nesting on them, I welcome the spirit of the blog in trying to educate the wider public about the broader and arguably more insidious issue of conflating the ‘problems’ of Herring Gulls and Kittiwakes.
We have a way to go on this matter but some movement in the right direction is afoot. Finally there seems to be some progress with helping influential people in the council to take notice. Let us help educate the public and local business premises about the ecological and behavioural distinctions between our two urban breeding gulls.