July 2015 - Gulls

Airplane Danger from Gulls

 

Trivia Question:

True or False – Gulls may be trapped or killed whenever they’re found on private property.

 

Correct Trivia Answer: 

FALSE - Gulls are classified as migratory species and thus are protected by federal and, in most cases, state laws. In the United States, gulls may be taken only with a permit issued by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Permits are issued only after frightening techniques, physical barriers, or both have been used correctly and qualified personnel certify that these methods have been ineffective.

 


Gulls

The term “gull” refers to members of a group of 23 North American bird species. Gulls are robust birds with webbed feet, long wings and a slightly hooked beak. They all possess exceptional flying ability. They are often seen swimming, and occasionally dive underwater. Adult gulls are white, with varying patterns of gray and black over the back, wings, and head. The young of larger species are often gray and take several years to develop adult plumage. The sexes are similar in appearance. The herring and ring-billed gulls are the most common and widespread of the species.

Herring Gull

HerringGull.jpg

 

Ring-billed Gull

ring-billed.jpg

Most gulls nest in colonies on sand and gravel-covered shorelines and islands. They build nests on the ground and produce 3 to 5 eggs per nest. Gulls feed on land or water on aquatic animals, terrestrial invertebrates and small vertebrates, plant remains, carrion, and refuse. They frequently take the eggs and young of other nesting seabirds. Small species, including ring-billed, laughing, and Franklin’s gulls, may also feed in the air on flying insects.

Increasing gull populations in North America during the past century have led to a variety of problems for different segments of society. Gulls cause damage to agricultural crops and threaten human safety at and near airports. They are involved in more collisions with aircraft than any other bird group because they are numerous and widely distributed. The presence of gull roosts near reservoirs increases their potential for transmitting diseases to human populations. Gulls occasionally cause a nuisance when they nest on rooftops and seek food from people eating out-of-doors. Gulls are predators of several seabirds during the breeding season.

Gulls are classified as migratory species and thus are protected by federal and, in most cases, state laws. In the United States, gulls may be taken only with a permit issued by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Permits are issued only after frightening techniques, physical barriers, or both have been used correctly and qualified personnel certify that these methods have been ineffective. Some states may require an additional permit to kill gulls. No federal permit is needed, however, to frighten or mechanically exclude gulls.

If you need help with gulls in or around your home, use our office finder to contact your local Critter Control office - or call 1-800-CRITTER (274-8837).

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Specific diseases transmitted by wildlife can also be researched from our website.

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Credits: Wikimedia (Herring Gull | Ring-Billed Gull | Airport Gulls)