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Thursday, 20 November 2014

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Seagull makes home on site of burned down Carlisle store

It's hardly the ideal place to set up home and raise your young family but for one unusually determined great black-backed gull the foundations on which Carlisle’s Harveys furniture store once stood was a first if not obvious choice.

Harvey
The seagull nesting at Crown Street

Most city-based gulls build their nests out of harm’s way on a high rooftop.

But this one has made its home at ground level, leaving its clutch of eggs exposed to a much greater risk from potential predators.

“It was probably once the Harveys rooftop sea gull,” said Emma Scott, who runs the Knoxwood Wildlife Rescue Trust with her father George near Wigton.

The store, in Crown Street, burned down last November, and the site has now been cleared in preparation for a replacement store.

Emma said: “As far as this bird is concerned, it has probably returned to the site it was using last year and it has just gone ahead and built its nest there anyway.”

Emma believes that the gull’s chicks may hatch shortly, and provided that they can survive for the first few weeks they will probably stand a good chance.

There has been a lively debate about gulls in Carlisle in recent years, with many residents annoyed at the way in which they scavenge for food, ripping into rubbish sacks and in some cases dive bombing people as the birds seek to protect their chicks.

“It’s our fault,” said Emma. “As far as the seagull is concerned cities are just convenient places full of nice flat roofs above cliff-like buildings, and with a plentiful supply of food because people leave it lying around. They’re just going to exploit that.”

Carlisle City Council recently introduced toughened black rubbish sacks to deter gulls from scavenging and making mess.

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