This is how to prevent issues with nesting gulls - and why they are protected

Herring gulls and similar species are protected by law
Herring gulls and similar species are protected by law
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It's that time of year again - when herring gulls set up their nests, frequently right on the rooftops of people's homes.

Like any parents, the birds do what they can to protect their young, which are vulnerable and helpless while they are chicks.

READ MORE: Couple imprisoned in own home - by gulls

The problem is that the gulls are so large and powerful that they are fully capable of causing a nasty injury to anything perceived to be a threat - even if that just happens to be someone putting the bin out or simply leaving the house.

Seagulls are classed as migratory and therefore are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

The birds may not be rare or particularly endangered, and research has shown an increase in gulls in towns which is estimated at having doubled in the last 20 years, but they have the protection of the law.

This makes it illegal to pursue, hunt, kill or sell gulls as well as being against the law to disturb, destroy or move any active seagull nest.

The RSPB does have advice for scaring gulls off, although this would only work before the gulls have actually set up their nest and hatched their chicks.

It advises: "Use a decoy. Seagulls don't like bright, scary owl faces on masks or balloons and some will also avoid wooden owls and kites shaped like hawks.

"Often referred to as 'terror eyes' try using a couple of decoys in the garden or on the roof of your property and this should ensure that any seagulls move on pretty quickly."

The charity also states: "If any person intentionally kills, injures or takes any wild bird, he shall be guilty of an offence".

If convicted of cruelty against a seagull, an offender could be fined up to £5,000 and potentially jailed for up to six months.

Bird proofing systems include:

*Bird netting or mesh - of all the systems bird netting/mesh would be the first choice for consideration. This is because when professionally fitted it forms a barrier that denies the birds both a nesting and roosting site.

In particular the bird net system should be considered for all flat roof areas and rooflines whilst the mesh can be used for smaller areas such as chimney stacks.

*Avishock electrical system - this flexible track system is powered by an energiser providing an output at source of 5.5kv which powers two copper strips laid beneath a conductive plastic cover on the track.

This system will deny the roosting on ledges of any bird species and has been effectively used in the UK over the last eight years and conforms to relative bird legislation such as the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

*Bird spikes - these are available for the control of either pigeons or gulls. They are attached to the ledge with a silicon adhesive applied in rows as required.

*Chimney spike system - fixed to the top of a chimney stack, or where the stack meets the pitch of a roof, in order to deny nesting by gull species.

Wyre Council also has advice at: www.wyre.gov.uk/seagulls.