Monday, July 15, 2024

Beware the red-billed gull squatter

Ōamaru building owners are being encouraged to regularly check their roofs to prevent red-billed gulls/tarāpunga from settling in for the breeding season.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) says that for the past few years, the birds have been setting up breeding colonies on the roofs of buildings in the town’s central business district.

DOC says that, once nesting, the native gulls cannot be moved as they are protected under the Wildlife Act – so it is vital for business owners to take action and set up deterrents before the birds lay eggs.

Department of Conservation (DOC) Ōamaru Ranger, Tom Waterhouse said nesting season was about to start.

“DOC and the Waitaki District Council are encouraging building owners to act now to prevent the gulls from calling their roof home for the next five months,” he said.

“The best thing people can do now is check their roof and gutters every two or three days to see if gulls are using the roof and remove any debris that could be used as nesting material.

“People should make sure their bins are secure and should not feed the gulls, as this could encourage them to stay. They have not evolved to eat human food and it is not good for them.

“The gulls are noisy neighbours, and their nests can clog gutters and lead to expensive repairs, so it’s cheapest and easiest to act early and encourage them to nest elsewhere.

“Luckily, there’s free advice on deterrents available on the Waitaki District Council website.”

Tenants are advised to let their landlords know as soon as possible if they think there are gulls on the roof.

Find more information on deterrent methods and contractors who can help (external site)

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