Why are gulls of conservation concern?
AThough urban breeding populations of both herring gull and lesser black-backed gull seem to be increasing, numbers at rural and coastal breeding colonies are in sharp decline. Yet rather than simply moving from coast to city, data from monitoring programmes indicate that national populations have declined. Herring gull numbers are thought to be at their lowest since counts began in the late 1960s, hence it appears on the red list of birds of conservation concern; the lesser black-backed gull is on the amber list. Once data from the latest gull survey, due for completion in 2019, are analysed we will have a better understanding of how gull populations are changing in different parts of their ranges.
There might seem to be too many lesser black-backed gulls in cities, but numbers are falling nationwide.