People in North Ayrshire are being warned of the dangers of diving seagulls, as hatching season enters full swing.

Advice appears on the North Ayrshire Council website regarding the gull problem, and comes amid reports around the country of divebombing gulls protecting their young.

A council spokesperson said: "A growing number of lesser black-backed and herring gulls build nest on the roofs of homes and businesses in towns across North Ayrshire, rather than on coastal cliffs. Our roofs are warm, chimneys provide shelter, and streetlights mean they can feed at night.

"Life in town is easy for the birds, discarded food provides a feast, and some people intentionally feed them. 

"It can be hard for the birds to find enough to eat, often attacking people carrying food in the street. They swoop down low, aiming to frighten their victim, before stealing the food. People have been injured by sharp beaks and claws and domestic pets can be attacked. Gulls are clever and learn from each other. They choose vulnerable targets, meaning children and elderly people are most at risk.

Largs and Millport Weekly News: There have been reports of divebombing seagulls in North AyrshireThere have been reports of divebombing seagulls in North Ayrshire (Image: Newsquest)

"Do not feed gulls or drop food scraps. Feeding gulls encourages them to stay. Put litter and waste in secure, enclosed containers or bins. Remember, dropping litter or food scraps is an offence and you may be liable to a penalty.

"Be a good neighbour, and don’t attract gulls to your garden to feed. If you feed them regularly, they'll expect everyone to do the same. This could lead to them attacking people to steal food, which can be frightening and could result in injury to the person.

"If you have a problem with gulls nesting on your property, you can contact a specialist company for advice or a quotation. Due to the risk of trapping, nets should only be used after taking advice from a competent specialist.

"If gulls nest on your property, you can arrange, through a competent specialist working under the appropriate licence, for eggs to be pierced, or oiled, to prevent hatching, or have them removed and replaced with imitation eggs."

The spokesperson added: "Work on roofs should only be carried out by a competent person aware of safety requirements. All roof fixtures should be suitable for the specific roof and not constitute a safety or fire risk."

North Ayrshire Council has no statutory duty to take action against gulls, but does recognise the need to protect communities. 

For more details, go here.