A number of roads are still closed and under caution across Waitaki due to slips and flood damage. Please comply with all road signage and advisories.
Customers on the Dunback Zone of the Waihemo Water Supply are advised that the Conserve Water notice is now LIFTED.
Red-billed gulls are fond of nesting on roof-tops of coastal buildings and have always been residents of Oamaru. By working together to make buildings less attractive for breeding, and by reducing the food available in town for gulls, we can minimise the conflict between gulls and people. Waitaki District Council is available to provide advice and guidance on how to gull-proof your property.
First though, it’s only right to note red-billed gulls are a bit special. They seem abundant, but actually they’re in decline nationally (numbers are 50% down over the last 25 years). Like the kakapo, takahe and kiwi, they are a protected species. The maximum penalties for disturbing wildlife are up to 2 years in prison or a $100,000 fine, or both. Oamaru is a coastal area which means we’re encroaching on their natural habitat. Gulls nest in urban areas all over the world and it’s common to have gulls nesting in coastal towns.
For information on Red-billed gulls, their breeding habits and ecology, visit nzbirdsonline.org.nz.
Nesting gulls on your roof can lead to expensive repairs, clogged gutters and noisy neighbours for up to five months. If this sounds like a nuisance, acting fast (and early) means there are things you can do to discourage them from breeding on your building.
It is ILLEGAL to disturb gulls once they have active nests (eggs or chicks). Any measures to deter gull nesting should be in place by July/August. Gulls are creatures of habit and will return to a successful nesting ground, year after year, but any rooftop is a potential new site. If an old site is no longer available, they will move and not necessarily to the building next door.
Red-billed gulls start laying eggs from September through February so you need to put measures in place by July/August at the latest, when they will be looking for attractive real estate to develop and build nests on. Gulls can bring in materials and start making nests very quickly when they get going, and once they have eggs or chicks on the nest there isn't much you can do.
DO NOT use commercially-available Class 4 laser bird scarers – they have been shown to cause irreversible eye injuries to birds. Local experience has found that other tools available are cheaper and more effective at deterring nesting gulls. We only want to deter them from nesting on Oamaru’s roofs, not to harm them.
- CONTRACTOR’S PICK!!!
Remember, all methods should be monitored after being put in place to ensure they are effective - if the tool is failing it should be quickly stopped and changed.
Talk to local contractors endorsed by DOC in relation to dealing with Seagull issues specifically. They are available to provide services regarding gull proofing, installing deterrents and helping you understand the process if you come across active gull nests.