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Scottish SPCA asks public to be #WildlifeWise about fledgling gulls

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Gull chick

The Scottish SPCA is asking members of the public to be #WildlifeWise around fledgling gulls on the ground.

Scotland’s animal welfare charity has received 6,381 calls to its animal helpline regarding baby birds this year. The Society has responded to 919 reports of baby gulls in June alone – a rise of 447 since the same period last year.

The Society launched its #WildlifeWise campaign in April to educate the public on when they should and should not contact them about young wildlife. The aim of the campaign is to keep parents and babies together and not to create orphans unnecessarily. Of all jobs attended in June involving baby birds, over 25% involved baby gulls.

At this time of year, fledgling gulls will jump out of their nests still unable to fly. This is part of the normal learning process. Nestling gulls are able to feed themselves from just a day old. Parents will generally be nearby but will rarely be grounded with their offspring.

The charity is sending a #WildlifeWise message to let people know that most fledgling gulls that are on the ground and unable to fly do not need assistance.

Mike Flynn, the Scottish SPCA’s chief superintendent, said: “We appreciate the concern from members of the public about baby gulls but most do not need our help. A young gull that is out of the nest and cannot fly is part of the normal learning process.

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Taken by Edinmore Contracts Ltd, Grangemouth

“Gull parents do not feed their young as often as garden birds so you will rarely see them on the ground with their young but they will usually be close and keeping a watchful eye. Because of this people may mistakenly think they are abandoned. Young gulls are able to forage and scavenge for food themselves and this is an important lesson for the young birds to learn. Sometimes parents will drop food for their young but not always.

“The baby gulls will build up muscle strength and when they are able to, they will take flight.

“Our advice to anyone who come across a fledgling gull is to make sure it is somewhere safe, away from a main road or somewhere it might be at risk. Keep any pets away from the bird. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to safely catch the gull using a towel and release it somewhere safe such as an enclosed garden or area.

“We will always attend if an animal is injured. If this is the case or if a young gull is lethargic and does not run away when approached then it will need our help and people should phone our animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

“While we love caring for these birds at our National Wildlife Rescue Centre, it is so much more beneficial to keep them with their parents to learn vital natural behaviours in the wild.”

Visit here for more information on the #WildlifeWise campaign.