In Bristol, the pest control team has embarked on a 10 year project to tackle a swelling gull population now estimated at 2500 breeding pairs.
The increasing gull population in Bristol has been put down to its historic docks and the emergence of nearby takeaways, street cafes and restaurants. These two factors combine to give the gull's their natural wetland habitat and access to large volumes of discarded food waste which has helped them to thrive in recent years. The growing population is no longer confined to the docks as problems have been reported around shops and trading estates to the cities outer areas, creating a headache for the Council which they are looking to overcome over the next 10 years.
The eggs were chosen by the Pest Control Team on behalf of Bristol City Council as they believe there are no other acceptable methods of reducing noise, mess and potential attacks during the egg laying and chick hatching season.
Pest Control Services Manager Richard Bevan says the investment in 2000 eggs is paying off. "The dummy eggs are the only viable option left to us, they are far cleaner and less time consuming than dipping live eggs into the approved oil" he says.
The team have found that the dummy eggs only require 3 nest visits per season; one to place the eggs, another midway through the season to check everything is ok and a final visit to retrieve the eggs at the end of the season so they can be washed ready for use the following year. Compare this to egg oiling where multiple visits are required throughout the season to ensure the oil is still sealing the live eggs. This reduction in nest visits helps to improve the cost effectiveness of imitation eggs over other control methods such as egg oiling and falconry.