Herring gulls indeed on the rise

With reference to Clive Hickman’s letter in last weeks issue of Sussex Express, concerning the growth in the Herring Gull population. I would agree wholeheartedly with what he has to say.

In Hailsham, we have seen a dramatic rise in pairs of gulls nesting and rearing their young on chimney stacks, mostly in the Gordon and Station Road areas. As a result of this population growth no ducklings have been reared to maturity on the Common Pond for the last two or three years. I have personally witnessed a duck bring ducklings off from the island in the pond and before they had swum the 25 yards to the bank the gulls had taken three of the 10 ducklings. This was at 6.30am and by lunchtime they were all gone.

This is the fate of every clutch of ducklings that are hatched on the pond. Add to this unbalanced predation on other species of wildlife, the mess they make by pulling rubbish out of litter bins and spreading it about, which costs the town council money to pick up, the noise as soon as it begins to get light in the morning until it gets dark in the evening, a good 16 hours in mid summer, and the mess their faeces makes when they defecate around the nest site, there is a good case to reduce their numbers. Anyone who has the misfortune to have a pair of gulls nest on their property is stuck with them as it is an offence to interfere with nesting birds, but the trouble with that is that once they have bred successfully once on a particular site, they return year after year, and nothing can be done about it because an offence would have been committed. It would be interesting to hear what views other residents of the town have on the subject.

L Holt