Seagulls terrorize tourists at Welsh seaside resort
LLANDUDNO, Wales, UK - Sunny days and balmy nights by the seaside have turned into a nightmare for Llandudno visitors due to attacks from birds seeking their food.
LLANDUDNO, Wales, UK – Sunny days and balmy nights by the seaside have turned into a nightmare for Llandudno visitors due to attacks from birds seeking their food.
The level of aggression displayed by Llandudno’s many seagulls is causing concern for the seaside town.
The large birds have become known for their attacks on locals and tourists, stealing their food and even causing injuries.
A member of staff from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said he’d “never seen anything like it” when he visited Conwy Quay a couple of weeks ago.
A journalist from the North Wales Weekly News witnessed an attack on a young mother and her toddler daughter as they crossed a busy street in Llandudno last week, which left the little girl severely traumatised.
Another mother explained how a visit to Conwy Quay with her sister and their four children this week ended in heartbreak for her two-year-old son.
“The gulls absolutely petrified us,” said.
“Our children got swarmed by them and they took the children’s chips out of their hands.
“There was loads of them and no one helped us, they were just staring and laughing. My two-year-old is now petrified and screamed every time he saw one afterwards.”
Another person took to Twitter to describe how a gull attacked her and did more than just steal her food.
“[It] happened in Llandudno,” she said.
“A seagull stole my food and left me with a bruised chest. I just never, ever carry food in my hand and always go and sit in my car to eat now.”
Nicole Jones from Llandudno now lives in Manchester and believes humans are the main problem.
“There has always been a bit of a problem with seagulls in Llandudno,” she said. “They’ve always stolen food from people.
“I wouldn’t say they are any worse than they have been in previous years, and they’ve not suddenly become more aggressive or ‘brave’ in a single year.
“You always see tourists feeding them on the prom, that’s a key problem. I know there are signs, but that doesn’t stop people.”
The prime time for people being attacked is when the adults are protecting chicks.
Nests, quite often next to warm chimneys, provide shelter and lead to humans being dive-bombed by nervous parent gulls.
Denbighshire Council’s solution was to ‘spike’ chimneys in the town centre, put netting across open spaces and bring in the now defunct Coastal Hawks, who used birds of prey to frighten off gulls from populated areas.
The problem improved, but after Denbighshire took away funding the brave gulls returned, albeit on a lesser scale.
Birds of prey have been tried in Conwy county before and the authority has asked the descendant of Coastal Hawks, Lords of the Wings, to visit Conwy and Llandudno’s North Shore with their birds.
“They [Conwy Council] emailed me last week,” said director Kevin Bunn, previously a director of Coastal Hawks.
“I will be there, weather permitting, and we will be doing regular patrols of the town. We won’t get paid but we can collect donations.”
Conwy Council’s environmental and housing enforcement manager, Nick Jones, said: “If property owners are not happy with gulls nesting on their properties they can take steps to proof their properties against future nest building.
“It is permissible to destroy a nest or take or destroy eggs where all other avenues of control have been ruled out, but only in the interests of public health or safety.
“Once eggs have hatched it would be illegal to kill the chick. We don’t offer a proofing or nest removal service, but private pest control firms do.
“There isn’t a bylaw regarding the feeding of seagulls, although we do actively discourage it.”