VIDEO: Meet the Gull Guardians looking after Blackpool's feisty seabirds

Seagulls are the undisputed kings of the coast with their signature squawk and insatiable taste for fish n’ chips – but even these rowdy birds are sometimes in need of a helping hand.

By Wes Holmes
Monday, 4th July 2022, 12:30 pm

That’s where the Gull Guardians come in – a small collective of animal lovers who take in the scruffy grey chicks and raise them until they are big and strong enough to survive on their own.

The group was formed by South Shore-based Brambles Wildlife Rescue following a surge in reports of abandoned young gulls.

Founder Mel Greenhalgh said: “Baby gull season is upon is on the Fylde Coast. Our little rescue has been receiving up to 25 messages a day just about baby gulls alone. As a small voluntary rescue, we can’t cope alone with the all the requests for help for baby gulls during the summer, there are hundreds of them and most don’t need the help of a rescue as they arent injured or ill.

Brambles Wildlife Rescue are looking for more gull guardians to look after baby seagulls that have been abandoned. Pictured is gull guardian Clare Yates.

“Most of these babies just need kind-hearted people in the town to take them under their wing for a couple of months and give them a chance at life they wouldn’t have without them. We all need to pull together as a town to help them.”

So far, the rescue has recruited eight Gull Guardians, each housing young seagulls in sheds or garages at night, and letting them out to roam in their secure gardens during the day.

Clare Yates, 38, from Poulton, is currently looking after two chicks, Ferngully and Jemima. She said: “I think it would be fair to say that people don’t think of seagulls as being cute and friendly like a hedgehog or a duckling. But they’re still babies and they still need help.

"I never realised how much personality these birds can have. Fern and Jemima are fantastic. I love how excited they get when I come outside with their food bowl. We’ve loved building them a nest in the garden with straw and watching them splash about in their little pool. They even follow us around watching what we do when we’re outside, they’re such nosy babies. We’ll definitely have empty nest syndrome when they leave us.”

Brambles Wildlife Rescue are looking for more gull guardians to look after baby seagulls that have been abandoned. Pictured is gull guardian Clare Yates.

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Jodie Thorpe, 30, from Little Thornton, has taken six seagulls under her wing. She said: “Some animal rescues see seagulls as more of a hindrance. But at the end of the day an animal is an animal.

"I can honestly say that it’s such a rewarding thing to do. I love all of my six babies, even if they do scream at me when it’s time to come in from the garden.”

The Gull Guardians are now encouraging even more bird lovers to join their ranks and commit to raising the chicks, which have often been abandoned by their parents after falling out of their nests.

Brambles Wildlife Rescue are looking for more gull guardians to look after baby seagulls that have been abandoned. Pictured is gull guardian Jodie Thorpe.

Prospective Guardians must be able to commit to looking after at least two gulls, feeding them wet cat or dog food or fish until they are big enough to fly – which is usually at eight to 12 weeks old.

Mel said: “Most importantly, they are not pets. They may return to you over time once released, but they need to be wild and handling them excessively or petting them can only endanger them long term. Keep a distance at all times and keep children away from them. They won't leave you if you have imprinted them.”

Anyone interested in becoming a Gull Guardian should contact Brambles Wildlife Rescue via their Facebook page.

Brambles Wildlife Rescue are looking for more gull guardians to look after baby seagulls that have been abandoned. Pictured is gull guardian Jodie Thorpe.