Search

Why are ‘bad boy’ seagulls stalking Islington’s streets?

PUBLISHED: 14:45 24 August 2016 | UPDATED: 14:54 24 August 2016

Seagulls in St John's Grove (Picture: Polly Hancock)

Seagulls in St John's Grove (Picture: Polly Hancock)

Archant

Last week, we revealed that a colony of seagulls is “terroising” St John’s Grove in Archway. In a guest column, Will McCallum, of Canonbury-based Greenpeace, explains why the “bad boys of seaside resorts” have found their place on our rooftops.

Will McCallumWill McCallum

Steely gazed and perfectly preened, gulls are stalking the streets of Islington and Hackney asserting themselves in their new city home. Seagull has never been the correct term for these birds, but now seems even more inappropriate - just plain old ‘gull’ will do. Stories like last week’s Islington Gazette front page describing gull mayhem on an Archway street are becoming more common. The bad boys of seaside resorts have found their place on the rooftops of London.

Exactly why numbers have boomed in the past few years isn’t completely understood, but reasonable guesses include the constant supply of food spilling from our bins satisfying their scavenging nature and tall buildings to nest in, keeping their eggs and chicks out of reach of predators like foxes and rats.

Islington Gazette front page: August 18, 2016Islington Gazette front page: August 18, 2016

Whether it’s young black-headed gulls searching for worms in Victoria Park, or more recognisable, boisterous herring gulls on Holloway Road tossing around fast food scraps with hooked yellow beaks, these neighbours are here to stay. Are these new residents a pest wreaking havoc on the high street, or a welcome guest filling our skies with the sound of holidays past? Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, it’s best not to feed them. If cities really are the place for these birds, it’s probably better they seek their own fortune and not be encouraged by us. Gulls are hardy animals; they’re used migrating thousands of miles through the harsh sea-spray only to find themselves at the wind-battered cliffs of our coast – they’ll be fine.

Silhouetted against our muggy summer skies there is something absurd about these magnificent birds choosing to feed from the pavements of Islington and Hackney; their high pitched ‘queeee-ooh’ bouncing off our concrete estates.

Related articles

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington News Stories

Fri, 17:28

Islington became the first council to pass a motion of no confidence in the government’s flagship social welfare reform last night.

Fri, 15:13

Councillors met with pupils from a Finsbury primary school to celebrate a commitment to resettle 100 asylum-seeking children over the next 10 years.

Fri, 13:23

Marks and Spencer’s bid to sell alcohol every day from 8am at a new Archway store has angered police and Islington Council due to the high number of street drinkers in the area – but the shop says it doesn’t stock the kind of booze that attracts alcoholics.

Thu, 17:32

Highbury Leisure Centre is to be partially reopened on Monday – but the building that went up in flames is to be demolished and it’s unknown who will foot the bill for repairs.

Thu, 14:36

Councillors will clash over the best way to influence a Brexit negotiations they have no direct control over at a town hall meeting tonight (Thu).

Thu, 14:21

A Canonbury street artist known as “the man behind the easel” is having his work exhibited – in the local pub.

Thu, 10:08

Police are appealing for the public’s help to find a missing Islington mother.

Thu, 08:02

More than 50 volunteers scoured the roads of Islington to count rough sleepers and create a “snapshot” of the borough’s street homeless population on Friday.

Promoted Content

Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now