It's not just the food that lures feathered friends
A gull expert from the west claims that clearing up Bath's litter will not necessarily get rid of the city's unwelcome gulls.
University of Bristol research assistant Peter Rock, who carries out regular gull counts in the west, says Bath offers the birds more than just easy pickings when it comes to feeding, which has made the city an ideal breeding ground.
He said: "It's so often the case people blame the black bin bags as being the cause of the population of gulls but that's not the case.
"Bristol has black wheelie bins throughout the city but they have more than double the population of Bath."
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According to Mr Rock, Bath had 1,100 breeding pairs of urban gulls this year but this number has since dropped as the birds migrate to Portugal and Majorca until the new year, when they will return to breed.
He said: "It's wrong to assume because there are black plastic bags that is why we have gulls.
"The roofs and other urban accommodation offer security and a certain degree of comfort. There aren't any predators and towns are four to six degrees warmer and that advantage allows them to breed sometimes as much as three weeks earlier than their wild cousins."
Mr Rock said more research into urban gulls was needed to better understand the species.
He said: "We have no information on the ecology of urban gulls.
"Urban gulls are very successful. Numbers are growing very quickly and new colonies are being formed. We need to be thinking very carefully how to manage this situation.
"The research will fill the information vacuum.
"We believe the gulls themselves can show us how to manage them then we can put an end to all this pointless guesswork that has filled the past 20 years."
In Bath, the council admits there is no one proven way of dealing with the gulls, although an experimental egg replacement programme has seen some limited success, reducing the city's bird population by two per cent in the past year.
Egg oiling has also been used in Gloucester, while in Bristol, eggs are replaced with dummy ones to stop the birds laying more.