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Seagulls and other wild birds


  1. Overview
  2. Report harm to gulls and nests
  3. Protect our environment and support a protected species
  4. Why you shouldn't feed the gulls
  5. Nesting gulls


In South Tyneside, we have all kinds of birds around our beautiful coastline. These include: fulmar, cormorant, shag, oyster catcher, little gull, black headed gull, common gull, herring gull, kittiwake, common tern, guillemot, raven, mute swan, mallard duck, eider duck, grey heron, ring necked dove, common sparrows and many more birds further inland.

Our sea birds are a huge part of South Tyneside, and should be recognised and appreciated as part of what makes our area unique.

Report harm to gulls and nests

All birds, including all gull species, are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. This means that hurting them or damaging their nests during the nesting season (approximately March to September) is a criminal offence.

If you think someone has hurt a gull, report it to the police as a wildlife crime. 

Call 101, or report it online:  

Northumbria police: Report an incident

More information: 

Injured or distressed birds

If you are concerned about an injured or distressed bird, contact: 

What you can do to protect our environment and support a protected species

There are things we can all do to help stop issues between people and gulls and play a part in conserving gulls in their natural habitat.

  • Don't feed the gulls - this is for their protection
  • Keep away from nesting areas and young gulls - gulls are very good parents and are very protective. They will swoop on humans approaching their young. If you see a young gull, leave it alone unless you think it is in immediate danger or injured
  • Never leave food unattended - our food is not a healthy diet for wild birds
  • Don't give gulls an opportunity to swipe food from you or your family - be alert and keep food close to you, particularly at the seafront or town centres
  • Don't litter - food scraps may be present on waste, encouraging scavenging. Litter can be harmful to birds and other wildlife
  • Put any unwanted food or leftovers securely in a bin
  • View the gulls in their natural environment - we have some stunning views of the birds in their natural habitat along the coastline, including Marsden Rock

Why you shouldn't feed the gulls

  • Our food is not good for them - feeding any wild birds or animals with human food affects their health
  • It encourages them to come further inland into our towns, where they may nest and cause potential damage to buildings (and where some people may consider them to be a nuisance)
  • Gulls associate people with food - they can't tell the difference between someone who intends to feed them and someone who doesn't
  • If gulls attempt to snatch food from you or your family, it can be frightening, particularly for small children
  • Wild animals and birds can carry diseases such as E-Coli and Salmonella
  • Gulls are very protective of their young and may attack people they perceive as a danger
  • We need to break their habits and encourage them to hunt in their natural habitat, by limiting their access to our food
  • Throwing food is classed as littering 

Nesting gulls

If you have gulls nesting on your roof, you must not remove the nest until the young have fledged and the nest is empty. 

If you have had nesting gulls on your property previously, you should take the following preventative measures:

  • Remove all nesting materials at the end of the nesting season (around September/October).
  • Proof previous or potential nesting sites on your property to discourage gulls from coming back. You may find that a cage over a chimney stack may solve the problem, but there are number of options commercially available including spikes and bird repellent gels.

The responsibility for resolving a nesting problem lies with the owner or occupier of an affected building.

Business owners should take a responsible approach to using netting on their buildings. Netting must be checked regularly to make sure that there are no holes allowing birds to enter and become trapped. Injuring birds due to badly maintained netting is still a wildlife offence. 

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