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'Pesky' gulls now plague Crouch End

PUBLISHED: 14:00 27 July 2012

A seagull takes off from Cromer Pier.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

A seagull takes off from Cromer Pier. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2012

The screeching of seagulls is the preserve of seaside towns and the soundtrack to British summers - but for some Crouch End residents the birds' call has become a far too familiar sound.

Last week the Ham&High reported a campaign was under way to remove the urban gulls from homes near the Whittington Hospital in Highgate after residents complained of sleepless nights and stinking streets.

But this week the seagull menace has spread to Crouch End, with homeowners calling on Haringey Council to help disperse the seaside birds from their chimneys and rooftops.

Dan Houghton, 34, said he first noticed the problem a couple of weeks ago and believes the seagulls are nesting in nearby Rathcoole Gardens.

“The screeching starts at 6am every day and it seems to be spreading over a wider area,” said the charity worker from Tottenham Lane in Crouch End.

“It could be because of the fortnightly bin collection that Haringey has moved to. There is more rubbish on the streets, which seagulls are attracted to, and as it piles up in the summer the seagull problem will only get worse.

“I’m not saying it’s definitely that, but it certainly can’t help.”

Haringey Liberal Democrats have called on the Labour-led council to act before the birds settle in for good and spread their wings to neighbouring homes.

Hornsey councillor Robert Gorrie said: “I feel sorry for local residents who have to put up with the ongoing problem with gulls yet no-one is seeming to take the lead on finding a humane way to stop the problem.

“We need coordinated action led by the council to ensure local residents, housing providers, and businesses on the industrial estate act together.

“All solutions need to be investigated but we should look at whether chimneys can be capped and whether further action is needed to cut off food supplies from bins.

“We don’t want to see this problem spread, but if the council does delay then it may make it harder to cure the problem.”

Wildlife expert and former Springwatch presenter Bill Oddie said colonies of herring gulls and lesser black-backed gulls have been living in Hampstead for more than 20 years - some setting up camp on the roof of the Royal Free Hospital.

The former Goodie said: “They might come and nick a sandwich out of your hand and scare the living day lights out of you, but I would have thought the sound of sea gulls – which is one of the iconic British sounds and people often say they love – would be a privilege to hear in the morning. People won’t have to go to the coast in search of them anymore.

“I do have a tiny bit of sympathy for people at the moment though because when it is light earlier they get up earlier.

“But then again my neighbour has a noisy dog who makes a racket in the morning.”

Haringey Council was unavailable for comment as the Ham&High went to press.

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