Florida Gulls

Identification

They are generally medium to large birds, typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet.Gulls are robust birds with webbed feet, long wings and a slightly hooked beak. They all possess exceptional flying ability. They are often seen swimming, and occasionally they dive underwater. Adult gulls are white, with varying patterns of gray and black over the back, wings, and head. The young of larger species are often gray and take several years to develop adult plumage.

 

Range and Habitat

The herring (Larus argentatus) and ring-billed (L. delawarensis) gulls are the most common and widespread of the species. They are distributed throughout North America, from coastal to inland areas, from unsettled areas to the downtown cores of large cities, from farmers’ fields to fast-food outlets and drive-in theaters. Other common species include the laughing gull (L. atricilla), Franklin’s gull (L. pipixcan), great black-backed gull (L. marinus) and California gull (L. californicus). Some species are limited to coastal habitats, while others may occur inland seasonally, rarely or in specialized habitats.

 

Fun Facts

They build nests on the ground and produce 3 to 5 eggs per nest. In the Great Lakes region, the number of ring-billed gulls has been increasing at about 10% per year since the early 1970s. The ring-billed gull yields readily to persecution, is easily driven from its breeding grounds and seems to prefer to breed in remote, unsettled regions far from the haunts of man. However, a colony on Leslie Spit on the waterfront of Toronto, Ontario, increased from 20 pairs in 1973 to 75,000 to 80,000 pairs in 1982. It appears that ring-billed gulls have changed some of their habits in recent years and have adapted to humans in their environment.

 

Damage Identification

Increasing gull populations in North America during the past century have led to a variety of problems for different segments of society. Gulls cause damage to agricultural crops and threaten human safety at and near airports. They are involved in more collisions with aircraft than any other bird group because they are numerous and widely distributed. The presence of gull roosts near reservoirs increases their potential for transmitting diseases to human populations. Gulls are occasionally a nuisance when they nest on rooftops and seek food from people eating out-of-doors.

 

Legal Status

Gulls are classified as migratory species and thus are protected by federal and, in most cases, state laws. In the United States, gulls may be taken only with a permit issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Permits are issued only after frightening techniques, physical barriers, or both have been used correctly and qualified personnel certify that these methods have been ineffective. Some states may require an additional permit to kill gulls. No federal permit is needed, however, to frighten or mechanically exclude gulls.

 

Damage Prevention and Control Methods

Exclusion
Construct complete enclosures of plastic or wire mesh. Suspend parallel wire or monofilament strands over area needing protection. Use porcupine wires on roosting sites.

Cultural Methods

Reduce or eliminate sources of food, water and nesting or resting sites.

Frightening
Auditory and visual frightening devices can be effective for limited time periods.

Repellents
Polybutenes.

Toxicants
DRC-1339.

Fumigants
None are registered.

Trapping
Rocket or cannon netting over bait. Box trapping over nests and eggs. Spotlighting and netting by hand at night.

 

 


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The above information was adapted from PREVENTION AND CONTROL OF WILDLIFE DAMAGE with permission of the editors, Scott E. Hygnstrom, Robert M. Timm, and Gary E. Larson (Cooperative Extension Division, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources University of Nebraska-Lincoln, United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Damage Control, Great Plains Agricultural Council Wildlife Committee).

Our local Florida offices offer Gulls services in the following cities:
Alachua, Alford, Altamonte Springs, Alva, Anna Maria, Apalachicola, Apollo Beach, Apopka, Archer, Atlantic Beach, Atlantis, Auburndale, Aventura, Azalea Park, Babson Park, Bahama Shores, Bal Harbour, Baldwin, Baldwin Park, Barberville, Bartlett Park, Bartow, Bascom, Bassville Park, Bay Harbor Islands, Bay Hill, Bay Lake, Bay Lake, Bayway Isles, Beachway Park, Belle Glade, Belle Island, Belle Isle, Belle Vista, Belleair, Belleair Beach, Belleair Bluffs, Belleview, Beverly Beach, Big Pine Key, Biscayne Park, Blam, Blam, Boca Grande, Boca Raton, Boggy Creek, Bokeelia, Bonita Springs, Boynton Beach, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Brandon, Brent, Briny Breezes, Bryant, Bryceville, Buenaventura Lakes, Bunnell, Callahan, Callaway, Campbellton, Canal Point, Candler, Cape Canaveral, Cape Coral, Captiva, Carrabelle, Caryville, Casselberry, Century, Chattahoochee, Chattahoochee, Cheval, Childs Park, Chipley, Chokoloskee, Cinco Bayou, Clearwater, Clearwater Beach, Clermont, Cloud Lake, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Coconut Creek, Colonial Town, Conway, Cooper City, Copeland, Coquina, Coral Gables, Coral Springs, Cottondale, Crawfordville, Crestview, Crooked Lake Park, Cutler Bay, Dade City, Dade City, Dania Beach, Davenport, Davie, Davis Islands, Dawn Cesar, Daytona Beach, Daytona Beach Shores, Debary, Deerfield Beach, Deerfield Beach, Deland, Dell Rio, Delray Beach, Deltona, Destin, Doctor Phillips, Doctors Inlet, Doral, Dundee, Dunedin, Dunnellon, Eagle Crest, Eagle Lake, Eagle Nest, Earleton, East Park, Eatonville, Ebro, Edgewater, Edgewood, Egypt Lake, El Jobean, El Portal, Elfers, Elkton, Estero, Eustis, Everglades City, Fairfield, Fairview Shores, Fellsmere, Fernandina Beach, Flagler Beach, Florida Center, Florida City, Forest City, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Meade, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Fort Ogden, Fort Pierce, Frostproof, Fruitland Park, Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Walton, Ft. Walton Beach, Gainesville, Geneva, Gibsonia, Gibsonton, Gibsonton, Glen Ridge, Glenwood, Golden Beach, Goldenrod, Golf, Gonzalez, Goodland, Graceville, Grand Ridge, Grant-valkaria, Greater Pinellas Point, Green Cove Springs, Greensboro, Greensboro, Greenville, Greenwood, Gretna, Gretna, Groveland, Gulf Breeze, Gulf Stream, Gulfport, Gulfport, Haines City, Hallandale Beach, Hastings, Havana, Havana, Haverhill, Hawthorne, Heathrow, Hialeah, Hialeah Gardens, High Springs, Highland Beach, Highland City, Hilliard, Hillsboro Beach, Hobe Sound, Holiday, Holly Hill, Hollywood, Holmes Beach, Homestead, Hypoluxo, Immokalee, Indialantic, Indian Harbour Beach, Indian River Shores, Indian Rocks, Indian Shores, Indiantown, Inidan Rocks Beach, Islamorada, Island Grove, Islandia, Isle Of Palms, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Jay, Jensen Beach, Juno Beach, Jupiter, Jupiter Island, Kathleen, Kenneth City, Key Biscayne, Key Colony Beach, Key Largo, Key West, Keystone Heights, Kirkman North, Kissimmee, La Crosse, La Crosse, La Vista, Lacoochee, Lake Alfred, Lake Buena Vista, Lake Clarke Shores, Lake Eola Heights, Lake Geneva, Lake Harbor, Lake Helen, Lake Lorraine, Lake Mary, Lake Nona, Lake Park, Lake Wales, Lake Weldona, Lake Worth, Lakeland, Lakewood Estates, Lakewood Estates, Land O Lakes, Lantana, Largo, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderdale-by-the-sea, Lauderhill, Laurel Hill, Layton, Lazy Lake, Lee, Lee, Leesburg, Leessburg, Lehigh Acres, Lighthouse Point, Lockhart, Long Key, Longboat Key, Longwood, Loxahatchee, Loxahatchee Groves, Lutz, Lynn Haven, Madeira Beach, Madison, Madison, Maitland, Malabar, Malone, Manalapan, Mango, Mangonia Park, Marathon, Marathon Shores, Marco Island, Margate, Marianna, Marina Harbor, Marineland, Mary Esther, Mascotte, Maxamo, Mc Intosh, Meadow Woods, Medley, Medulla, Melbourne, Melbourne Beach, Melbourne Village, Metro West, Mexico Beach, Miami, Miami Beach, Miami Gardens, Miami Lakes, Miami Shores, Miami Springs, Micanopy, Mid Florida, Middleburg, Midway, Midway, Millenia, Milton, Minneola, Mirabella, Miramar, Monticello, Monticello, Mount Plymouth, Mulberry, Naples, Navarre, Neptune Beach, New Port Richey, New Smyrna Beach, Newberry, Niceville, Nocatee, North Bay Village, North Fort Myers, North Lauderdale, North Miami, North Miami Beach, North Palm Beach, North Port, North Redington Beach, Oak Hill, Oak Hill, Oak Ridge, Oakland, Oakland Park, Ocala, Ocean Breeze Park, Ocean City, Ocean Ridge, Ochopee, Ocoee, Odessa, Okahumpka, Oldsmar, Ona, Opa Locka, Orange City, Orange Park, Orchid, Orlando, Orlovista, Ormond Beach, Oviedo, Pace, Pace, Pahokee, Palm Bay, Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach Shores, Palm City, Palm Coast, Palm Harbor, Palm Shores, Palm Springs, Palmetto, Palmetto Bay, Palmetto Beach, Panama City, Panama City Beach, Paradise Island, Parker, Parkland, Pass A Grill Beach, Pembroke Park, Pembroke Pines, Penney Farms, Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key, Perry, Pierson, Pine Castle, Pine Hills, Pinecrest, Pineland, Pinellas Park, Plant City, Plantation, Polk City, Pompano Beach, Ponce Inlet, Port Orange, Port Richey, Port Saint Joe, Port Salerno, Port St Lucie, Punta Gorda, Quincy, Quincy, Ranches, Reddick, Redington Beach, Redington Shores, Richmond Heights, Riverview, Riviera Beach, Rockledge, Roseland, Rosemont, Rotonda West, Royal Palm Beach, Safety Harbor, Saint Augustine, Saint Augustine Beach, Saint Cloud, Saint James City, Saint Leo, Saint Lucie, Saint Marks, Saint Pete Beach, San Antonio, Sanford, Sanibel, Sarasota, Satellite Beach, Sea Ranch Lakes, Sebastian, Seminole, Sewalls Point, Shalimar, Silver Springs, Sky Lake, Sneads, Sopchoppy, South Apopka, South Bay, South Daytona, South Miami, South Palm Beach, South Pasadena, Southchase, Southport, Southwest Ranches, Springfield, St Petersburg, St. Marks, Stuart, Sugarloaf Shores, Summerland Key, Sunny Isles Beach, Sunrise, Surfside, Sweetwater, Taft, Tallahassee, Tallahassee, Tallevast, Tamarac, Tampa, Tarpon Springs, Tavares, Tavernier, Temple Terrace, Tequesta, Tierra Verde, Timberleaf, Titusville, Titusville, Town And Country, Treasure Island, Trinity, Umatilla, Union Park, University Park, Valparaiso, Valrico, Valrico, Vanderbilt Beach, Venice, Ventura, Vernon, Vero Beach, Virginia Gardens, Vista Park, Wabasso, Wacissa, Wahneta, Waldo, Warrington, Wauchula, Wausau, Waverly, Weirsdale, Wekiva Springs, Wellington, Wesley Chapel, West Chase, West Melbourne, West Miami, West Palm Beach, West Park, Weston, Wewahitchka, Williamsburg, Wilton Manors, Windermere, Winston, Winter Beach, Winter Garden, Winter Garden, Winter Haven, Winter Park, Winter Springs, Wright, Wright, Yalaha, Yulee, Zellwood, Zephyrhills