From Iceland — Seagull Turf Wars In Garðabær

Seagull Turf Wars In Garðabær

Published July 8, 2020

Catherine Magnúsdóttir
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Seagulls have been causing much trouble in Garðabær, particularly around the nursing home Ísafold where the birds have caused the residents some distress.

Numerous complaints from around town have been received at the local service center. Most of them are about the birds attacking pedestrians, the seagulls harming and killing the hatchlings of other birds and the staggering amount of shit they leave behind, which has led to some discomfort.

Guðbjörg Brá Gísladóttir, project manager for the Garðabær Environmental Committee, confirms that cohabitation of humans and seagulls has been difficult in the town in recent quarters.

“This has been a problem in recent years, but something that is difficult for us to deal with. There are large seagull nesting grounds near some of the town’s neighborhoods and they are protected,” Guðbjörg told Fréttablaðið.

The case of seagulls vs. townsfolk has been processed in collaboration with the Icelandic Institute of Natural History and the Icelandic Environment Agency. Since not much can be done within the nesting spaces, action by municipal workers has been limited to moving the eggs outside defined areas.

Gunnar Þór Hallgrímsson, professor at the Faculty of Biology, University of Iceland, tells Fréttablaðið that the number of seagulls has not increased in recent years. The problem of the birds’ collision with the residents of Garðabær isn’t new and is primarily about the proximity of the town to large nesting areas.

According to Gunnar Þór, it’s normal for birds to be protective of their nests (he himself has apparently been attacked by birds before during his studies), although it’s supposed to be unusual that they actually attack humans.

Seagulls are usually more seabound, as their primary source of food can be found there, but their urbanisation seems to have had a bit of a bad influence on them.

Gunnar Þór also says that he doesn’t deem the issue that serious of a problem, although he does point out that people need to be particularly aware of the birds once it’s mating season. So God help you if you cross a seagull that’s not only hungry and territorial but also horny.

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