Alkmaar has become the first local council in the Netherlands to have established designated roofs for nesting seagulls. The gulls have been given two roofs of their own at an industrial site in an attempt to relieve the nuisance caused by the birds to the locals.
Gulls usually come back to the site of their first nest, and that can cause continual problems for people who live alongside them. ‘We are woken up at 5 am by screeching gulls and when I walk the dog they dive bomb me to protect their young,’ Katinka Kerssens told RTL Nieuws.
The roofs are meant to provide an ‘optimal environment’ for the gulls, city ecologist Roland-Jan Buijs told the broadcaster. The chicks are ringed to see if they return to the roofs to make their own nests.
The roofs are part of a city-wide strategy to discourage the birds from nesting in built up areas, Buijs said. Other measures include pouring oil over the eggs so they won’t hatch – a method which was recently given the green light in court, despite protests by bird protection groups.
The organisations do approve of the roofs, Rob Struyk of Vogelbescherming Alkmaar said. ‘It’s a start but not nearly enough for Alkmaar. Gulls can reach an age of 30 or 40 and they like to return to the same place each year,’ he said.
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