‘Hell-fire’ method of scaring gulls

WHILST Angus Council appears to have set its face against a ‘gull-cull’ in its area, nonetheless it is taking a lively interest in methods of deterring the birds from settling.

Experiments are to be carried out with a gel, devised and manufactured in the Far East, which plays tricks on the birds’ minds.

A Council spokeswoman told us: “The gel does not kill, harm or trap birds but deters them from landing on buildings as they see ultraviolet light which appears to them as fire.

“The visual deterrent is reinforced by selected natural oils in the product, which are abhorrent to a bird’s sense of taste and smell.”

She continued: “The deterrent effects last for two years, even in exposed environments, and birds are known to desert a habitat they have used for years once the gel is installed.”

Contact between the bird’s feet and the gel causes irritation.

Stewart Ball, the council’s senior infrastructure services manager, is encouraged by test results so far.

He said that this is the first trial of the ‘fire gel’ in Scotland, and that one of the great things about it is that it is non-hazardous, and also made from food-grade oils and the like.

The gel is regarded as a passive and non-harmful alternative to traditional methods of dealing with gulls, and has been passed by the Health and Safety Executive as safe for humans to use.

Angus Council still offers free nest removal from domestic premises, and uses birds of prey in towns during the breeding season and all year at its landfill waste sites.

It has a policy of frequent emptying of litter bins at busy town centre and seafront locations.

The council urges members of the public not to feed gulls, an act which reduces those who have been attacked by the birds to near apoplexy.

Experiments are also under way with a method of deterring gulls by the use of articles coloured bright red, suggested by Mr Ian Watson, Arbroath.