But officials say the issue would be even worse if they didn’t carry out the work and councillors will next week be asked to agree to continue the removal programme for another 12 months.
They will also discuss if it’s time to start trapping adult birds too.
A council report reveals that in 2018, licensed contractors dealt with 1551 eggs and 158 chicks in the town centre. They also attached spikes to almost 100 domestic properties to prevent them being used as nesting sites and worked with schools who complained about swooping, noise and mess from the birds.
Environmental health manager Greg Douglas said: “It is estimated that without the management provided by the Gull Project, that about 600 young gulls would have fledged in Dumfries in 2018. Due to egg and nest removal this number was significantly reduced to around 125 fledglings or 21 per cent of the potential total. The scheme has been somewhat successful in reducing the numbers of gulls nesting in the town centre. From a peak of 303 pairs in 2000, there has been a steady reduction to an estimated 91 pairs nesting in Dumfries town centre in 2018. It should be noted, however, that there was an increase of 17 pairs on the 74 nesting pairs recorded in 2017.”
Information and data gathered from the project is being shared with scientists and other local authorities. Meanwhile, the number of pairs thought to be nesting in other parts of the town continues to increase year on year, from 410 in 2014, to 569 pairs in 2018, Mr Douglas added: “The total number of pairs estimated to be nesting across Dumfries has increased from 614 pairs in 2017 to 660 pairs in 2018.”
Due to the overall rising numbers, he will tell councillors that it’s time to consider using “appropriate measures” to reduce the number of adult gulls too and their impact on the population of Dumfries. He said: “Trapping of adult gulls was a method that we had agreed to try in 2018, however due to issues outwith our control, this could not take place. If circumstances allow, we will consider the use of trapping and any other measures allowed within the General Licence to remove/reduce the numbers of adult gulls in 2019.”
The matter will be discussed by the environment, economy and infrastructure committee on Tuesday.