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‘Arrogant’ seagulls plague Church Street

After hawk failed to deter them, ward councillors suggest looking at design of fishmonger stalls

28 July, 2017 — By Alina Polianskaya

Residents say the seagulls’ squawking is keeping them up at night

A COLONY of squawking seagulls is plaguing a popular market stall street with increasingly arrogant behaviour.

Church Street residents say a long-standing problem with seagulls has got worse in the past year, with baby gulls growing up to be “massive”. After a hawk failed to drive away the burly birds, which have set up nest and are breeding in the street, residents are calling on the council for a solution.

Harriet Lowinger, 42, who lives in Church Street, said: “They wake me up at 4am. They make such a screechy noise and they are quite arrogant. I think it has got worse over the past year. They have had babies, and those have grown up and are also massive. They are obviously breeding so it’s going to get worse. These seagulls have built up a home around Church Street. They have nests here.”

Seagulls tucking into leftover food in Church Street

Ms Lowinger, a computing consultant, added: “People on conference calls often ask if I am by the seaside. It gets really stressful. I would like to see what the council can do about it. I hear they can bring hawks in. But I don’t want the seagulls killed, it’s not their fault.”

Many believe the birds are attracted to Church Street because of the array of food sold in the market. Church Street Councillor Barbara Grahame said the problem could be solved by looking at the design of fishmonger market stalls.

She said: “It is a long- standing problem, the seagulls love the Church Street area as the market has plenty of food including the fishmongers and the roof tops of the surrounding flats are lovely nesting places.

“The issue is the birds are protected, you can’t put spikes up that would injure them, you can’t destroy the nests. It is very heavily restricted – a hawk which was suggested has been tried. They also once hung a dummy hawk in the trees and the birds weren’t impressed by that, it didn’t work.”

CityWest Homes employed a hawk in the past to scare away the birds but this failed. In neighbouring Camden, a hawk hired by the council to chase away pigeons from a statue was itself scared away by an angry seagull.

Cllr Grahame added: “It is awful because it’s noisy, it is horrid for the residents, but it’s not that the council hasn’t tried, we just haven’t found a way of stopping it.

“The problem is all the lovely food in front of them, what better place for them to live? They perch on the awning above the stall and swoop down. There are very good, popular fishmongers in Church Street and I don’t want to discourage that.

“Maybe we need to look at the design of fishmonger stalls.”

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