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Black Isle pupils help get over important message on seagulls amid local concerns over nuisance


By Hector MacKenzie

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Avoch Primary School pupils are helping to get an important wildlife message out this summer.

Residents of two Black Isle villages complained to the community council over the nuisance caused by herring gulls nesting on their properties.

Complaints about noise, mess, aggressive behaviour and chicks falling onto roads and being killed by traffic led Fortrose and Rosemarkie Community Council to investigate what could be done.

The RSPB says one of the key actions that can deter the seabirds moving from traditional nesting sites and into residential areas is to make sure they are not fed, either deliberately or by people dropping food waste.

Human food also causes health problems in birds.

To raise awareness locally, Fortrose and Rosemarkie Community Council asked pupils at Avoch Primary School to design a poster. Councillors were astonished and delighted by the huge number and the quality of the entries they received.

In fact, along with the three main winners, ten entries from P5 to P7 classes were selected as posters from 76 entries. Donated prizes included drawing material and a voucher to spend at the Rosemarkie Beach Cafe.

The posters get the message across very directly.
The posters get the message across very directly.

Judges said the overall winning entry featured a charming and quirky drawing of a seagull with colourful and clear lettering. They particularly liked the accuracy with which the bird had been drawn with its red bill spot, black tail feathers and pink legs – distinguishing features of herring gulls, the breed that tends to cause the most problems.

The community council will be asking local businesses to display one of the ten winning posters in their windows over the summer to get the message "please do not feed the gulls" out to residents and visitors alike.


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