Seagulls are increasingly causing problems in Dutch urban areas, moving further and further inland. Foxes and stricter fishing rules, among other things, make it more difficult for the birds to find food – something that’s abundant in cities. Seagulls are a protected species, so there is little to be done against them, NU.nl reports.
“Yes, the nuisance caused by seagulls in urban areas is increasing,” spokesperson Raoul Rozestraten of the municipality of The Hague told the newspaper. They pick their way through garbage baths, often leaving a trail of trash behind them, or even steal food from people’s hands. “You can safely say that thousands of people in The Hague regularly suffer from the animals.’
“In recent decades, more and more foxes have been found in the dune area, one of the most dangerous natural enemies of seagulls,” Rozenstraten said. “Then the roofs of houses are a relatively quiet place for their nests. And an advantage is that there is always food to be found in the cities. If it’s not in garbage bags, it’s at fish stalls or snack carts.”
Albert de Jong of Sovon Vogelonderzoek, one of the Netherlands’ largest knowledge centers on birds, confirmed this to NU.nl. “Nuisance in coastal cities is nothing new in itself,” he said. “But we do notice that the number of municipalities where gulls cause nuisance is increasing. They are increasingly breeding in cities further inland, such as Utrecht.”
In addition to foxes, stricter rules for fishermen also play a role in the seagulls’ move further inland, De Jong said. “The gulls used to be able to find a lot of food at sea because fishermen threw substandard catches overboard. But that is no longer allowed. You now have to take them ashore. That was a major blow to the food supply of gulls. They went looking for alternatives.”
Despite the increasing nuisance, recent estimates indicate that the number of gulls in the Netherlands is declining. Our country has between 75,000 and 90,000 breeding pairs of the lesser black-backed gulls and between 35,000 and 41,000 pairs of herring gulls.
https://nltimes.nl/2023/08/09/seagulls-increasingly-harassing-people-dutch-cities Seagulls increasingly harassing people in Dutch cities