How to Get Rid of Seagulls in Your Yard, on Dock, Boat, Roof or Beach!

Seagulls; they’re impossibly loud and a danger to your health, but there is a way to get rid of them!
Phyllis McMahon
Phyllis McMahon
Research Writer
Phyllis teaches English Literature at a local college and loves writing in her free time. She’s also a great cook – her British beef Wellington is something the best res read more
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Chas Kempf
Chas Kempf
Expert Consultant
Chas works in a professional pest control company and knows all the nuances of this job. Also, he’s a fantastic tennis player and loves to organize BBQ parties for his fam read more
Last updated: August 21, 2023
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Seagulls are either the soundtrack of your favorite summer memories, or the trigger of a core memory of that time a particularly big seagull stole your fries. Seagulls are an unfortunate part is coastal life, but they’re also moving increasingly more into more urban areas, where the real problems start. Once seagulls settles down, they’re not leaving. Given the fact that they’re not going to pay you rent for any damages they cause, it’s best to find out how to get rid of seagulls as quickly as possible. In this article, we’ll explain to you why seagulls are a problem, how to get rid of them, and how to keep them away.

The nature of seagulls

How to Get Rid of Seagulls in Your Yard, on Dock, Boat, Roof or Beach!

Gulls are seabirds from the family Laridae, but we more commonly know them as the seagull. They generally all look the same way; white with black tipped wings and sometimes grey. The bigger gulls can grow up to 16 inch tall and have a wingspan of up to 40 inches. They’re rather smart birds, who aren’t shy to turn a situation into their advantage, and prefer to live in large groups.

As opposed to most animals, gulls are actually thriving on human societies and have expanded their territories, moving ever more into urban areas, carrying diseases with them as they go. They are also very territorial and become quite dangerous when they have young.

Once they have found a place where there is plenty of food and a good place to build a nest, it will be a problem to convince them to move out again.

Seagulls as pest birds

Aside from being terrifying flying food pirates, seagulls are also a hazard to our health. They’re known to carry several bacteria, diseases, and can bring infestations with them as well.


Seagulls can be infested with several bacteria, such as Campylobacter and Salmonella, and are known to carry Giardia, E. coli, and Cryptosporidium to beaches.


There are also three known human diseases that seagulls can carry with them. These are cryptococcosis, histoplasmosis, and psittacosis, all of which are found in the droppings of seagulls.


The nests of seagulls are prime locations for much more than just eggs, of which a female seagull will lay between two and four. Insects such as textile beetles, fleas, and bird mites all move in with the seagull family. From there on, you’re only a small step removed from an infestation inside your home, as well as a pest on the outside.

What attracts seagulls

As with many things, the best way to deal with seagulls is prevention. But what attracts seagulls in the first place?

Flat roofs and sun panels

How to Get Rid of Seagulls in Your Yard, on Dock, Boat, Roof or Beach!

Flat roofs may seem unattractive, they’re actually the perfect place for seagulls to build their nests. They’re almost impossible to spot from the ground, allowing them to breed undisturbed.


Seagulls are not very picky animals and are quick to adapt, which is why they won’t mind eating from overflowing bins or whatever humans leave behind. Especially areas that have heavy traffic


Seagulls should never be fed. Once they realize there is food to be found, they will stay. Unfortunately, this also includes things like bird feeders. If you live near any food establishments, it’s possible visitors are uncareful with their waste or even feed the seagulls willingly.

What damage can seagulls cause

The droppings of seagulls are a hazard to our health, and our property. The droppings of seagulls contain highly corrosive acids that can damage your car, the outside of your house, and your boat. If they have made their nest on or even in your roof, their presence can dislodge tiles which can slip to the ground. When they have found their way inside the roof, there is the increased risk of compromised integrity of the roof to consider as well.

Aside from bringing possible infestations with them, the debris seagulls use to build their homes can also clog up your drains and gutters, which in turn can lead to more indoor problems, such as mold, or structural problems. This is why it is important to get rid of any seagulls that have started nesting on your roof as soon as possible, but if it’s already gotten to that point it is recommended to contact professionals.

How to get rid of seagulls:

When it comes to getting rid of seagulls there is an answer for every budget.

1. Bird scaring systems

How to Get Rid of Seagulls in Your Yard, on Dock, Boat, Roof or Beach!

Everyone knows about the scarecrow, so why not try a scare-gull when you’re trying to scare away gulls? Seagulls are averse to bright owl faces. With the use of an owl mask or even a wooden owl, you may be able to get rid of the seagulls around your house. Kites shaped like hawks, decoy coyotes, or spinning objects will typically have the same effect.

These methods are easy to put into place, but they may become ineffective over time. It’s key to move the objects around often enough that the seagulls don’t notice that they aren’t real.

2. Spikes, wires, or netting systems

When seagulls keep sitting on your property, maybe a system of spikes, wires, or a a netting system is the solution. By installing spikes on the areas that seagulls like to congregate, or parallel wires, they are no longer able to perch on those places, effectively making your home uninhabitable for seagulls as well. Netting works in a similar manner and can be used to keep seagulls out of entire areas.

3. Light

Most birds, including gulls, see things a little differently than humans because of their capacity to see ultraviolet light. To make use of this weakness, there are various things you can do, such as hang up reflective and shiny tape or streamers which will blind and confuse the seagulls.

A little more extreme would be the use of sort of optical fire gel, which reflects light in such a way that seagulls think they’re looking at fire.

Another option that uses light would be lasers. However, these can become ineffective rather quickly, as seagulls figure out their harmless nature.

4. Anti-bird gel

Sticky gel, a kind of anti-bird gel, uses a chemical that causes seagulls to get stuck to the surface with its feet and giving it a hard time getting free again. A seagull will think twice before landing on the same surface again once it’s been through an experience like that.

5. Scare cannon

Though a scare canon may cause a neighborly quibble, it is possible to scare seagulls away with special propane cannons that send out a boom as loud as an airplane that takes off. Naturally, seagulls won’t want to hang around for too long when that starts happening.

6. Water guns

Shooting, or in any other way injure gulls, is illegal in most places and punishable by law in the United States and in the United Kingdom. But there’s no one who can stop you from squirting water at them, as long as you don’t hurt the seagulls. There are motion activated machines specifically made to get rid of seagulls on the market, but you can also decide to do it the old fashioned way, of course.

7. Remove food sources

Make sure that the food sources that attracted the seagulls in the first place are removed, or hidden away so the seagulls can no longer reach it. Don’t allow bins to over flow. Talk to neighbors and any establishment that handles food in your neighborhood to work out together how to best keep waste out of reach of those pesky seagulls.

8. Walk your dog

How to Get Rid of Seagulls in Your Yard, on Dock, Boat, Roof or Beach!

Dogs can be very effective in chasing away seagulls. Taking your dog on a walk in the morning and evening can teach the seagulls that there already is a predator in the area, making the area less desirable to nest. It can take a while before the seagulls get the picture when dealing with bigger flocks, and this method may be completely useless when you live in a coastal area that is heavy with tourists. But remember to never allow your dog to hurt the seagulls.

9. Birds of prey

When all else fails, it may be time to call in a professional to get rid of your seagull problem. When calling in a falconer or austringer you can be sure that the seagulls will leave, but they may come back once the danger has left as well. That’s why using birds of prey is a little like hiring a gardener who needs to come back periodically.

How to Get Rid of Seagulls on the Dock

When you want to get rid of seagulls on a dock it is vital to put into place all the relevant previously mentioned methods. The best way to keep them off the dock is installing a parallel wire system which disables the seagulls to land on the dock.

How to Get Rid of Seagulls on Boats

Boats are particularly attractive to seagulls because they are right in their natural habitat. Because of the moving nature of boats, the best way to go when trying to get rid of seagulls on your boat is with a sticky gel and visual discouragers, such as flashy streamers that won’t be dangerous for your safety when attached to your boat.

How to Get Rid of Seagulls on the Roof

Once they have settled on your roof, it is not recommended you try to get seagulls to leave yourself. Seagulls are protected by law in most places, and harming them in any way can earn you a hefty fine. Furthermore, the structural integrity of your building may have been compromised, and that should always be handled by professionals.

Seagull Prevention Tips

Clean up any seagull droppings

The droppings of seagulls are dangerous to your health, and a sign for other seagulls to join. Clean up any droppings in a timely manner to prevent more seagulls from setting food on your property.

Don’t leave food sources out in the open

How to Get Rid of Seagulls in Your Yard, on Dock, Boat, Roof or Beach!

Seagulls are scavengers that will live off of everything, including food you leave out for other birds, pet food, and any food you yourself leave behind. If you want to continue feeding other birds, consider a feeder that seagulls can’t make use of, empty bins before they overflow, and store food away.

Remove water sources

Make sure there are no water sources for the seagulls either, which is just as important as removing food sources.

Don’t allow feeding of seagulls

This can be a tricky one, as it asks for the help of strangers, especially in areas that see heavy traffic. Hanging up signs is a first step, but be aware that these may be ignored.


When is the time to call a professional?

Once seagulls have settles onto your roof permanently, it is wise to call in a professional. Seagulls are protected by law, and harming them or their offspring is a punishable offence in a lot of places. Not to mention how dangerous seagulls become once they have young.

Similarly, when you find there are seagulls living under your solar panels, it is best to hire a professional to get rid of them. The droppings of seagull will damage your panels in no time, making them less effective.

Are seagulls harmful to humans?

Seagulls are known to carry various bacteria and diseases that are harmful to our health. Besides that, they also bring with them the potential for infestation with the insects that come with them and the debris they use to make their nests.

Can you shoot seagulls?

No. Seagulls are protected by law in many places. In the United Kingdom, for example, gulls are protected under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981. In the United States this is the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. If you want to cull gulls, you’ll need to have permission of the government, which is only done in extreme cases.

Is there a way to get rid of seagulls at the beach?

Beaches are the natural habitat of seagulls, so it may be impossible to get rid of seagulls of the beach completely. If all other methods have failed, your best bet would be to take your dog out on regular walks in the morning and evening. A good scare might change their minds, but be careful not to actually hurt any seagulls.

Final Thoughts

Seagulls are some of the loudest and boldest birds in the world, and they can become quite the nuisance in big flocks. Their droppings are not just unsightly, they can damage your property and are filled with bacteria and diseases, so it’s important to know . Once seagulls have settles into your roof, it’s best to call in a professional in order to get rid of the seagulls, given how they are protected by law in most places. Prevention remains the best solution to any problem.


Understanding the seagull and its behaviour Gulls Facts Info
Defender Bird Spikes Blog Understanding the seagull its behaviour Learn how to get rid of gulls from your property, facts info on the seagulls.
Taking a BirdsEye Viewin the UV BioScience Oxford Academic
People have long delighted in the vibrant colors of birds. Charles Darwin, for one, wrote extensively on their beautiful plumes and brilliant tints. Indeed,
Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
An Act to repeal and reenact with amendments the Protection of Birds Acts 1954 to 1967 and the Conservation of Wild Creatures and Wild Plants Act 1975 to prohibit certain methods of killing or taking wild animals to amend the law relating to protection of certain mammals to restrict the introduction of certain animals and plants to amend the Endangered Species Import and Export Act 1976 to amend the law relating to nature conservation, the countryside and National Parks and to make provision with respect to the Countryside Commission to amend the law relating to public rights of way and for connected purposes.
Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 U.S. Fish Wildlife Service
The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 16 U.S.C. 703712 implements four international conservation treaties that the U.S.
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