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Your three best bets for keeping seagulls away from your boat or dock are these:
1) A consistent and diligent program of scaring with loud noises and pyrotechnics.
2) A motion-sensitive water-squirter mounted on the dock or boat.
3) One of those deterrent devices with the long spidery arms that stick out eight feet.
After you read the below information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does bird removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of birds - my main bird removal info guide.
Example bird trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Bird job blog - learn from great examples of bird jobs I've done.
Once, a long time ago, seagulls were symbolic of good luck to sailors, the appearance of the birds often indicating land was nearby after a long voyage. Now, with the four corners of the world explored and populated, seagulls are considered a nuisance bird. In reality, nuisance animals are generally those that have adapted to live off of human resources and waste, so you can consider these creatures as some of the smartest you will come up against. Seagulls are calculating and adaptable, and will study their quarry as long as it takes for opportunity to knock. Gulls live in colonies and will use their collective nature to act as a mob against predators or innocent bystanders with hotdog rolls. These birds are found on every continent, complicating life for every ethnicity imaginable.
There are some tricks to keeping gulls away, and some have seen more success than others. Restaurant owners with the desire to have guests dine outdoors can place thin, unobtrusive wires around their patio enclosures. The lines will prevent seagulls from landing or from leaving unappetizing piles of feces around the tables. An awning overhead will shade and protect the heads of unsuspecting folks below. Seagull exclusion from buildings tends to be the most important matter of concern when people discuss bird control. Seagulls are messy, and their waste can do permanent damage to the surfaces of a business or home. In addition to being aesthetically unappealing, roosting birds can create a potential health hazard if their droppings remain unattended. Wild bird feces are a prime source of an infectious fungal agent known to cause serious respiratory disease and even death in people. Documented cases of mass illnesses have also been traced back to large amounts of seagull waste in water reservoirs. External parasites can also be dropped by passing seagulls, though this concern is less common than the above.
Interestingly enough, some success in keeping down gull populations has been discovered on a few island communities. These areas have invested in a special species of pig that is released to roam the island during certain times of the year. The pigs will find the gull eggs and eat them. They canâ€™t eat all the eggs, so some natural renewal of the population should be expected. This tactic, though somewhat effective, is not practical for larger cities or communities.
Harbor harassment techniques are largely ineffective. Some companies boast gull protection through a series of colorful flags mounted on your boat. Not only are seagulls notoriously fearless, they have been exposed to such a variety of colorful and loud objects and people, that not much will scare them off for any period of time. Sound guns are another ineffectual deterrent for the same reasons. Even dogs cannot keep gulls off a beach. If a dog runs through a flock of seagulls, you will notice they immediately land back once the dog has passed. If threatened enough, the birds may even attack the canine, and then he will be the one chased off the beach.
Nets and spikes are effective ways to keep seagulls off of property, and some electric-based tape deterrents are also effective. These methods are often expensive, difficult to install, and unappealing to the eye. In many cases, seagulls can be maintained through proper human habits. Taking care not to leave garbage out is important. As opportunistic as gulls are, they will not hesitate to raid a trash can with the cover off. Similarly, birds seen on the beach should not be fed human food. Gulls will eat almost anything, and the ocean is teeming with abundant, natural food sources. They have no need for help from us.
AAAnimalControl.com is written by me, David. I am a professional nuisance wildlife control operator. It is my goal to provide education about safe, responsible & effective solutions to human-wildlife conflicts. I provide a lot of "how-to" info, but in many cases, wildlife removal is complex, dangerous, and subject to local laws. Sometimes I recommend hiring a professional. To keep seagulls away from a boat or dock, physical deterrents are the best option. I have spent over 10 years now training and investigating companies all over the United States, serving over 650 USA cities and towns. I believe my hand-picked list is far better than what you'll find on a standard web search by yourself. For my recommendation of a local critter trapper in your area, click here for my nationwide list of 100's of professional wildlife control experts.