Could putting seagulls on birth control solve Yorkshire resorts' bird problems?

A contraceptive pill could be the answer to reducing the Yorkshire coast's nuisance seagull population.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 12th April 2018, 4:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th April 2018, 4:21 pm

A Belgian seaside town has just announced that it will put its resident seagulls on birth control by doping their food - the first time the idea has been tested on the species.

The idea could be welcomed by councils along the Yorkshire coast, who are dealing with increasing problems created by noisy, aggressive seabirds whose anti-social behaviour is deterring tourists.

Current anti-gull policies in Scarborough and Whitby include hiring hawks to scare the birds and removing eggs from their nests to control the population.

Sign up to our daily The Scarborough News Today newsletter

But Belgium's radical tactics may be far more effective.

In the genteel resort of Blankenberge, the contraceptive pills will be secreted in food deliberately left out for the scavengers, while fake eggs will be used to fool broody birds and drones will be deployed to find rogue nests.

It's the first time the Pill will have been tried on gulls in Europe, although similar methods have already been used on pigeons in tourist centres Barcelona and Venice.

Two vets are being sent to the Dutch-speaking town to supervise the operation, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Scarborough and Whitby this week announced their 'destruction and dispersal' measures for gulls ahead of the 2018 summer season.

The birds have been accused of dive-bombing visitors to 'mug' them for food, and also create noise, mess and noxious smells.