Seagulls: Woman left bleeding after attack outside her house

A woman who was left bleeding following a seagull attack outside her house is warning people to watch out for nesting birds.

Rhiannon Fennell, from Prestatyn, Denbighshire, said she “felt a strike” on the back of her head while walking to her shed on Thursday.

The 69-year-old said the seagull knocked her to the floor.

“I thought it was a falling brick or a tile. Then I saw the bird flapping away,” she said.

Ms Fennell went back into her house to clean the puncture wound on her scalp.

Her neighbour, a retired nurse, later came to check her over and help clean the wound.

Ms Fennell said the birds have been nesting in chimney pots on neighbours roofs for years, but this is the first time she’s been attacked.

Since the incident, she admits she feels “a bit nervous” going outside, but said: “What can you do – wear a hard hat?”

She is urging others to be aware of the potential dangers.

“It’s not the seagull’s fault. The chicks are leaving the nest and the parents are naturally protective,” she said.

All species of gull are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it illegal to intentionally kill or destroy an active nest or its contents.

But in certain circumstances, it states control measures may be necessary and licences can be issued by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) permitting nests or birds to be destroyed.

This is only if there is no non-lethal solution and if it is done to prevent serious damage to agriculture, the spread of disease, to preserve public health, preserve air safety or to conserve other wild birds.

Denbighshire council said gulls were a common cause of complaint.

It urged residents to take care while eating food in their vicinity and said it was looking at ways to solve the problem.

A spokesman said: “Whilst the number of incidents is low, they can be very distressing.”

How can you stop gulls?

Tony Williams has run a pest control business based in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan for 20 years and said they were not seagulls so much as urban gulls.

They’re laying their eggs and then they’re hatching and if the chick survive, they come and join the family on the same street,” he said. If you stop them nesting there, you’re just pushing them on to other people’s property so you’re not really getting rid of the problem.

Once the nests have been vacated at the end of the breeding season, Mr Williams says you can put up measures to stop them coming back.

If they’re on your chimney and they tend to nest between, the best thing to do is to put a well-meshed tent over the whole of it to stop them building a nest.

Mr Williams says gulls can be clever animals and “get more aggressive when the chicks are hatched”.

“They are so intelligent, they know when the bin men are coming,” he added.

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