Gulls Situations & Solutions

Laughing gulls © Linda Fuller
Laughing gulls © Linda Fuller

Although gulls are beneficial as scavengers, they also compete with terns for nesting habitat and occasionally cause issues for people. Flocks of gulls may gather on rooftops, waterfront property, playing fields, airports, and reservoirs.

The simplest way to deter gulls: don’t feed them. This only encourages their presence. Eliminate food sources that may attract them, such as open trash containers.

Excluding Gulls

If gulls are an issue, you can try one of these exclusion techniques.

Narrow areas

Install “porcupine wire,” a series of stainless steel strips with pointy spines, on roof peaks to restrict landing without actually injuring the birds.

Medium sized areas

A horizontally rotating spinner can make it impossible for gulls to perch on roofs and boats. Wires extend out from the rotating spindle, and rotate with the wind.

Large areas

Cover wide expanses with plastic bird netting (found at garden shops), or form a grid by stringing parallel stainless steel wire or nylon monofilament line above the area, spaced six to eight feet apart. Place the wires or netting high enough so birds can’t land on the ground. Gulls don’t like flying under wires or netting.

Also, since gulls prefer areas of low vegetation or no vegetation, allow the grass to grow higher than eight inches. This will make an area less attractive as a resting site.

Fright techniques

Large (24” diameter) shiny Mylar balloons or large (2’x 3’) black plastic flags, widely spaced, may provide an effective deterrent if moved frequently. Broadcasts of recorded distress and alarm calls of gulls may also work in some situations.

Birds & the Law

All birds are protected by federal laws under the “Migratory Bird Act of 1918,” as well as by Massachusetts state laws. It is illegal to destroy, relocate or possess birds, their nests or their eggs. Learn More