A self-proclaimed bird rescuer has condemned the use of netting to deter nesting seagulls after spotting 14 dead birds trapped on a supermarket roof.
Outraged Steven Ault, 40, of The Crescent in Bridlington, was in the Boyes café on Chapel Street when he saw the birds tangled in netting on the roof of Iceland.
“I couldn’t believe what I saw. It is appalling and that is the view from the cafe,” said Mr Ault, who regularly checks netting in Bridlington for birds in distress.
He was quick to act, asking staff at Iceland to remove the dead birds and informing the RSPCA. However, he was informed the supermarket staff were not authorised to go on the roof.
He said: “I think bird netting should be made illegal. Looking at that roof it is a great roof for birds nesting. I can’t see that they would cause any trouble on there. It is very vindictive. The netting causes more trouble than the birds ever could.”
And it is not the first time he has witnessed upsetting treatment of seagulls, as he has seen two gulls shot in Fairfield Road.
“People are scared of them and when you are scared you lose all your compassion towards them,” said Mr Ault.
A spokesperson for Iceland said: “We apologise for any distress caused by the netting and associated problems on the roof of our Bridlington store. Our store colleagues are not permitted to climb onto the roof to clear it themselves for health and safety reasons, but we are working with a qualified company to clear up the area ASAP and will strive to keep this area as clear as possible.”
A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “The RSPCA is opposed, in principle, to killing or taking wildlife – in circumstances where there is a proven case for controlling wild animals, we advocate the use of non-harmful methods of deterrence where possible.
“Bird deterrent netting can be an effective means of keeping birds off structures as it can prevent problems without needing to resort to other measures such as killing birds.
“However, it’s vitally important that any netting is properly installed and maintained.
“Problems arise when netting is incorrectly installed or when it becomes damaged and is not repaired, leaving gaps where birds are able to enter and become trapped. If the netting is not checked or maintained, there is a risk that birds may suffer and die from injury or starvation.”
The RSPCA acts swiftly once a trapped bird - alive or dead - is reported and sends a letter to the building owner requesting the problem is rectified.
The spokesperson continued: “Unfortunately however, there are situations where we do not hear back from the owner, or we are informed by the public that nothing has been done to fix, remove or replace the netting. In these incidents, we will send reminder letters and escalate the situation as necessary.”