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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The effectiveness of different methods to deter large gulls Larus spp. from competing with nesting terns Sterna spp. on Coquet Island RSPB reserve, Northumberland, England

Published source details

Morrison P. & Allcorn R.I. (2006) The effectiveness of different methods to deter large gulls Larus spp. from competing with nesting terns Sterna spp. on Coquet Island RSPB reserve, Northumberland, England. Conservation Evidence, 3, 84-87


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Reduce inter-specific competition for nest sites of ground nesting seabirds by removing competitor species Bird Conservation

A study on Coquet Island (5.4 ha) in 2000-5 in northeast England (Morrison & Allcorn 2006) found that a gas gun, scarecrows, bird-scaring rockets, taped distress calls and human disturbance were all effective in deterring herring gulls Larus argentatus and lesser black-backed gulls L. Fuscus from disrupting common tern Sterna hirundo breeding. However, a ‘humming line’ (two strips of plastic that vibrate in the wind), a gird of plastic string designed to stop birds settling and a ‘scarer rope’ (a slow burning rope with a series of explosives attached) all had practical issues: the humming line broke, gulls became entangled in the string grid and the rope was difficult to light in wet weather and scared common eiders Somateria mollissima from their nests. The consequences of these measures are discussed below.