I have had trouble with seagulls nesting on our roof on and off for years. They can be very aggressive and have stopped us being able to use the garden in the past; this is a great shame for the children. They make such a terrible noise on bin day that you need ear plugs to get some sleep. I use these from ZenPlugs; they are really comfortable and effective.
This year I thought I would try using some seagull repellents in the garden before the nesting season; I figured that if they weren't hanging about they wouldn't nest. Our roof is high and difficult to access so I was only able to work from ground level.
The two repellents I tried were a plastic owl with a wobbly head which blows round in the wind and shiny seagull repellent tape.
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Step 1: Is Bird Repellent Tape Any Good?
When I saw this bird repellent tape I have to admit, I didn't think it would be any use. I was wrong. It is very effective at scaring the seagulls away. It comes as a roll with 125ft on it so it's really good value. It has a holographic reflective surface on both sides which the birds hate. The first time I took it into the garden I pulled a metre of tape off the roll and two seagulls on the roof immediately looked at it and flew away. I hung it in short sections in the apple tree and when the wind blows and the sun shines it scares them away. You can get it here on Amazon; https://amzn.to/2XGxlBT
Apparently it works because the bright light looks like an object coming near them; they see it like a stick being waved at them. They also don't like the rustling and flapping noise it makes. I found that once they were a little nervous waving a broom about would often make them fly away. It reached the point where I only had to walk towards them on the roof and they would fly off. Happy days!
Step 2: More Tape
I was thrilled that the tape was keeping the gulls off our roof, whilst also being non-toxic and safe around the kids. Unfortunately, in the meantime, the gulls were nesting on the neighbours roof and the babies wandered onto a mansard roof right next to our roof, having left their nest. The gulls started hanging about on our roof, squawking at us and eyeing up our dinner again. They were harder to repel this time as their babies weren't going anywhere so I had to put up more tape. I strung it between the shed and the swing and this did the trick. The adults went to sit on the other side of the roof and left us in peace. You could string it up a wall, along a fence or on a garage/shed roof or umbrella.
Step 3: Plastic Owl
Apparently seagulls don't like big eyes staring at them so this owl looked like a great idea. They clearly didn't like it but I think it would have been more effective higher up, ideally on a roof. Reviews are excellent and many people find them very effective. You can get them here on Amazon; https://amzn.to/2XGxlBT. The eyes are reflective and the head spins round in the wind which the gulls really don't like.
This worked well in combination with the tape. It is worth using several methods, you can also use windmills and anything that flaps in the breeze. In the UK nests can be removed outside the nesting season but it is illegal to disturb nesting seabirds.
Let me know your tips in the comments below!