Eggs are laid from early May onwards with 2 or 3 being the usual number. The eggs take about four weeks to hatch, which means that the first chicks are seen around the beginning of June. This is when the adult birds are their most aggressive both in terms of ‘dive bombing’ and ‘excreting droppings’ on threats such as people or pets. The chicks grow quickly and are quite active, which means that they often fall from their nests. In towns this often means that they are unable to return to their nests. Small chicks will die if they are not returned, but the larger chicks will be protected by their parents and fed on the ground. Increased aggression may be experienced as a result with parents trying to defend the fallen chick. The chicks generally fledge in August and then take about three years to reach maturity when they in turn will start to breed. The life expectancy for gulls can be up to 20 years.
‘Designing-out’ obvious nesting sites or installing preventative measures can pay significant dividends in later years.
If dive bombing and mess are your concern, designing in covered walkways, car ports or vegetation to disrupt the flight path will reduce the ability for the birds to cause you concern. Hawk flying and birdscarers does not help with concerns of bird fouling. They will cause the birds to take flight suddenly when the birds automatically excrete which then exacerbates the problem.
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