Herring Gull

The Herring Gull


The Herring Gull is a large gull commonly found across North America and Europe. Key identification features include:

  • Size: 55-66 cm (22-26 inches) in length with a wingspan of 125-155 cm (49-61 inches).
  • Color: Adult birds typically display white facial features and underparts with light gray back and wings that feature black-spotted wing tips.
  • Bill: Heavy yellow bill featuring an eye-catching red spot at its base mandible.
  • Legs: Pink in adults.
  • Juveniles: Mottled brown and gray plumage that transitions to adult plumage over four years.


Herring Gulls are highly adaptable birds that thrive in many environments ranging from coastal regions to uplands such as forests, making effective bird control essential.

  • Coastal areas (beaches, cliffs, harbors)
  • Inland water bodies (lakes, rivers)
  • Urban areas (landfills, parking lots, rooftops)
Pest profile herring gull


Herring Gulls are known for their intelligence and opportunistic feeding habits:

  • Diet: Omnivorous, feeding on fish, invertebrates, garbage, and carrion. They are known to scavenge in urban areas and landfills.
  • Breeding: Nest in colonies on cliffs, islands, and rooftops. Typically lay 2-3 eggs per clutch.
  • Migration: Many populations are migratory, moving south in the winter.

Impact as a Pest

Herring Gulls can become problematic due to their large populations and behaviors:

  • Property Damage: Their acidic droppings can corrode building materials and car paint. Nesting can block gutters and vents.
  • Health Risks: Droppings can harbor pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella, posing risks to humans and animals.
  • Aggressive Behavior: Can be aggressive, especially during breeding season, leading to attacks on people and pets.
  • Noise Pollution: Loud calls and nesting colonies can create significant noise disturbances.

Management Strategies

Effective management of Herring Gull populations requires a combination of methods:

  • Habitat Modification: Reducing access to food sources by securing garbage bins and landfills, and deterring feeding by the public.
  • Exclusion Techniques: Installing bird spikes, nets, and wires to prevent roosting and nesting on buildings.
  • Repellents and Deterrents: Using visual (e.g., predator decoys) and auditory (e.g., distress calls) deterrents to scare gulls away.
  • Regulated Culling: In some regions, regulated culling may be employed as a last resort to control populations.
  • Public Education: Informing the public about not feeding gulls and maintaining clean environments to reduce attractants.

Legal Considerations

Herring Gulls are protected under various national and international laws:

  • In the United States, they are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, requiring permits for any lethal control measures.
  • In Europe, they are protected under the EU Birds Directive, with similar requirements for permits.

Summary Of Herring Gull

Herring Gulls are integral components of their ecosystem; however, their adaptability and behavior may lead to conflicts with human activities. Get ‘Em Out Wildlife Control integrated pest management strategies, along with public cooperation, to mitigate the negative impacts of Herring Gulls while ensuring their conservation.

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