201400708-gulls-600x298.jpg

Seagulls sound like lazy summer days on the beach or the boardwalk—but in many places, these smart, resourceful birds are a major nuisance, and even a health threat. 

Gulls Be Gone

July 8, 2014

201400708-gulls-600x298.jpg

Seagulls sound like lazy summer days on the beach or the boardwalk—but in many places, these smart, resourceful birds are a major nuisance, and even a health threat.  At airports, gulls cause bird strikes. At beaches, their droppings spread disease-causing bacteria, including Salmonella and E. coli.

Nat Geo talked to Cornell ornithologist Andrew Farnsworth about what’s attracting gulls and how to keep them away. He said:

Here are animals that can adapt quickly, learn, and take advantage of a resource while its available. . . . Unlike for most wild animals, we've actually expanded their habitat and food sources with our behavior. Gulls are excellent opportunists and will keep coming back if they find something good.

Reducing our trash and changing how we throw it away would be the best deterrents, Farnsworth advised. But other approaches—especially used in combination—may also help. National Geographic suggests 10 strategies to keep gulls away: from dog and raptor patrols, to shiny streamers, to squirt guns. But whether we spend a few bucks or thousands to scare away the gulls, the one sure thing is that these wily scavengers will be back.

Read more in National Geographic.