Moray looks on as Peterhead trials Falcon solution to gull problem

Cooper Park gulls making picnicking a dangerous pursuit.

Moray Council may follow the lead being taken in neighbouring Aberdeenshire and seek the help of a Falconer to reduce Seagull activities in Elgin.

This week insideMoray has revealed the growing concern in Moray over attacks by Seagulls on individuals and families taking advantage of the summer sun in parks and gardens.

Elgin resident Clarky Mitchell sparked a storm of protest when he posted details of attacks he had personally witnessed on his own family and others on the Plainstones in Elgin and at Cooper Park.

Hundreds more reported similar incidents on the Moray Council and insideMoray Facebook pages. However, Moray Council said that there was little if anything they could do because of the protected status of gulls, undertaking only to increase the frequency of their staff emptying refuse bins and appealing to the public not to feed gulls.

Now it has emerged that the same problem in Peterhead is being dealt with in a manner that was suggested to Moray Council two years ago – but rejected.

Elgin City South councillor Graham Leadbitter said: “I have not been surprised by the public reaction this week, many more people are out in their gardens or in parks this summer and the experiences they have been relating over attacks as gulls seek to steal their food are harrowing.

“Seagulls are a significant problem in parts of Elgin and the interest shown on social media this week underlines how strongly people are feeling about this and seeking action from the council.

“I had suggested before that a Falconer be engaged by Elgin BID as a possible solution if only to discourage seagull activity in the centre of Elgin. Of course the difficulty of this is you might just be moving the problem to another part of Moray, so I will watch the action being taken in Peterhead with interest to see if it is in any way successful.”

As is the case in Elgin, Peterhead has been plagued by seagull attacks this summer with shoppers being harassed in the town centre by an increasing population of gulls.

The Falconer is being employed in the town throughout August with the costs of the operation being covered by the Peterhead Town Centre Action Plan.

Project officer for the organisation is Heather Barclay, who said: “Gulls can be very aggressive at this time, not only with each other but towards people.

“In the meantime it is hoped that the ‘fly and scare’ measures will reduce the risk of attacks on people.”

A spokesman for Moray Council said that they will await with interest the outcome of the patrols in Peterhead and see if any lessons are learned.

Leave a comment