West Dunbartonshire Council has no legal duty to control birds and there’s no legislation which prevents people from feeding birds. However, dependant on the exact cause of the nuisance there are a number of things that can be done. At the moment, the council does not routinely provide a bird control service, but contract bird control services are available on request for seagulls. More information on Seagulls is available on the Pest Control page.
Bird work can prove to be very expensive and, if the birds are not on your property, legally we cannot make the owners of the affected property take any action.
All birds a protected under law, as are their nests, eggs and every stage of life. However, certain species may be controlled by applying for a General Licence from Scottish Natural Heritage. This is very rarely required and non-lethal methods are preferred.
Good guidance from Scottish Natural Heritage has been produced with regard to the Public health and safety issues with nesting birds.
Feeding birds in gardens is widespread and is valuable in conserving garden bird numbers, particularly in the winter months. It also gives pleasure to many to see birds feeding in their garden. The RSPB recommend that fresh water and shelter are necessary in the winter to help birds. However, the numbers of rats and mice in built up areas is on the increase. Unsuitable or excessive bird feeding methods contribute to this rise. Excessive or careless bird feeding can also cause noise and fouling problems for neighbours, particularly where larger birds such as pigeons, crows, magpies or seagulls are attracted. The larger birds will sometimes discourage the smaller birds from feeding. Most people would be horrified to think they were attracting rats and mice to their gardens or causing problems for neighbours. For more information please see our Bird Feeding Advice page.
Those affected by nuisance bird feeding may take private legal action.
Environmental Health will not routinely investigate complaints of excessive or inappropriate bird feeding. It may do so if levels of other higher priority work permit and the problem is serious and persistent.
The council will not carry out any lethal forms of control under any circumstances such as shooting, egg oiling or nest destruction during the breeding season.
Where birds are nesting or roosting, depending on species, they can cause nuisance by their noise, droppings or in the case of gulls, attacks during the nesting season.
The recommended form of control is to proof (prevent nesting/roosting) by physical methods. These are applied by professionals and will remove the nuisance birds from the site without harming them. Proofing can come in a variety of forms.
A number of deterrent methods are available. In general, they are for short term use and will not work where birds are roosting or nesting. These include -