Venice declares war on the seagulls attacking tourists and waiters

Officials have said they intend to remove the gulls' nests in the city centre

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The Independent Online

Venice has declared war on the rising numbers of large and aggressive seagulls that are swooping on tourists and waiters, and attacking workers on rooftops.

With the arrival of spring, and hungry chicks to feed, the birds are becoming bolder than ever as they circle St Mark’s Square and other tourist hotspots in the lagoon city in search of a free lunch. Some gulls are even eating the local pigeons.

Officials have said they intend to remove the gulls’ nests in the city centre. “In a confined space such as St Mark’s Square we can think about destroying them [the nests],” Giuseppe Cherubini, a spokesman for Venice province, told local press. He said some of the gulls’ nests were in key local landmarks, such as the Basilica and the Ducal Palace.

Another strategy touted is the introduction of falcons to scare the gulls away. But Corriere Della Sera quoted an unnamed falconer as saying that wildlife protection laws might prevent the authorities from using birds of prey to hunt seagulls, some of which, he said, were protected species.

Officials say the broadcast of noises designed to scare away the gulls has not had the desired effect. So in addition to removing nests, a strategy of more effective clearing of food, rubbish and waste left in streets and marketplaces will be prioritised.