How to Get Rid of Seagulls: 8 Tricky Ways to Drive the Pesky Birds Away

If you live in a coastal area, there’s one bird that you surely hate: seagulls. These pesky birds don’t just leave smelly droppings on boats and establishments; they also attack people. With this, knowing how to get rid of seagulls is a must to stop these fowls from affecting your quality of life. Below, we also reviewed two seagull deterrent items that will help you drive the gulls away.

how to get rid of seagullsBird Blinder
Fake Owl Decoy
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how to get rid of seagullsHoont Cobra Yard
Water Blaster
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Aside from ruining the perfect coastal experience, seagulls also impose serious health threats to humans. And since many people are frustrated over these pests, they have come up with a variety of solutions – from deflectors to squirt guns.

The nature of seagulls

A lot of places in the world have seagulls but they are commonly seen in North America. Usually, they grow by as much as 16 inches tall with a wingspan of 40 inches from both ends.

If you’re not familiar with seagull’s appearance, they have a bright white feather with black-tipped wings. Others would have grey colors.

Seagulls rarely travel alone. They would be present in flocks and with their notorious noisy squawking.

Gulls breed during the months of July and August. Also, they love getting moss, plankton, and seaweed for nesting. So if your area is a common source of this marine life, there’s a high chance that infestation is on its way.

Seagulls as pest birds

First of all, seagulls are intelligent birds. Once they landed on your boat or coastal home, they will stick around for a long time. Gulls can easily adapt to their environments and they can spot a fake deterrent over time.

The biggest danger to seagulls is they know how to make the most of the available resources. For example, when the people around feed them, they will go back continuously. When food is no longer available, they would become aggressive. They will dive-bomb on tourists to snatch a piece of fries or any food that’s in sight.

You should know that seagulls are mainstays on beaches, boardwalks, and dumps. But due to human behavior, the habitat of seagulls became expanded. Feeding them in places they shouldn’t be present invites them to stay. Only after the damage has been done that the people will realize what’s wrong.

Why seagulls pose a big problem

Aside from the physical harm and unaesthetic presence of gulls in your area, they also bring in tons of health problems.

According to Elizabeth Wheeler Alm, a microbiologist at Central Michigan University, seagulls can bring bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella in some beaches. Others would even bring Campylobacter and Cryptosporidium.

E. coli and salmonella can cause severe and bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps. Meanwhile, Campylobacter can wreak various foodborne diseases.

All of these pose a direct threat to beaches and surrounding establishments. Aside from that, it can also compromise the living conditions of coastal residents.

Also, seagulls aren’t shy when they are hungry. They will not think twice to dive into a kid holding an ice cream cone. Moreover, seagulls tend to go back to their nesting place year after year. With this, the infestation becomes an endless cycle. You should know how to get rid of seagulls right away.

Here are more possible threats that seagulls pose to coastal areas:

*Nesting sites and the droppings of seagulls attract a variety of bugs, insects, and beetles. So aside from the seagull infestation, you’ll also have to deal with another pest problem.

*Seagull droppings contain strong acids that can corrode boats and damage the exterior of establishments.

*The lingering presence of seagulls will damage roofs due to dislodged tiles and debris that are stuck on the drains.

*When seagulls are nesting, they will pick up anything that they can use – including lit cigarette butts. This can pose a direct fire hazard to buildings.

*As for urban areas, seagulls tend to stay close to their food source which makes the infestation a year-long problem.

Can you shoot seagulls?

Unfortunately, you can’t get rid of seagulls by shooting them dead. You can only go as far as driving them away with a water gun. Why? Because they are protected under the U.S. federal law. Gulls are shielded by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Still, there are some provisions that may give exemptions whenever seagulls start to compromise public health and safety.

One example is the Puget Sound ferry terminal where seagulls are starting to cause health problems among employees due to the droppings. This is mandated by the U.S. government. Unless you secure a federal ruling, you can’t kill seagulls.

In fact, two Washington State troopers are under investigation for clubbing seagulls to death off a toll booth. The state is still investigating if the troopers indeed committed a crime.

How to get rid of seagulls

1. Don’t feed them!

Feeding the birds is the biggest cause of the infestation. Since the seagulls know that there’s a food source on the area, they will keep coming back. Never start feeding them or you’ll have to deal with a bigger problem in a few weeks.

But what if other people already fed the gulls? Well, this can be difficult to fix since the gulls can become very aggressive. So aside from removing all the food sources (yes, including feeders), you should pair it with a deterrent.

Watch out for pet food leftovers, uncleaned eating areas, and open rubbish bins. All of these can be food sources of seagulls.

2. Trick the birds

Just like other pest birds, seagulls are scared of owl eyes and other blind reflections that tend to blind them. You can put some of these on your garden.

Still, you have to remember that seagulls are intelligent birds. If they notice that your fake owl isn’t moving, they can outgrow the fear. Make sure that you move your deterrent from time to time to sustain the effect.

Below, we reviewed two seagull deterrent products that you can use for your home, boat, or commercial establishment.

3. Let the dogs out!

Some experts and residents agree that walking with a sheepdog on the infested area, say a boardwalk, drives seagulls away. The continuous chasing of sheepdog will let the gulls know that there’s an apparent predator on the area.

Also, roaming with a dog early morning and during the evening can reduce the pesky nature of seagulls. Soon enough, they will leave your place during daytime due to the perceived danger.

Still, make sure that no birds will be killed by the dog. Again, no matter how pesky they are, gulls are still protected by federal law.

4. Make some noise

If it won’t disrupt your neighborhood, it will help to make some noise where the seagulls tend to flock. Blasting and cannon sounds are effective in scaring the birds away.

Some would recommend putting up a chemical that has a bad smell to drive the birds away. This might be inefficient in some ways aside from the fact that it will make your place stinky.

5. Use water blasters

On coastal areas where there are convenient water sources, water guns are effective yet harmless means of driving seagulls away. You can install motion-activated water guns around which will engage when seagulls try to land or fly around. This a very fun way of how to get rid of seagulls.

However, you should place this in a place with very little foot traffic. Otherwise, someone else might be bombarded with the water.

The good thing with water blasters is that it’s harmless and it’s a lot of fun. If placed properly, even the most aggressive seagull is no-match with the water shooting.

6. Color it red

This is a bit of a coastal area legend, but some people say that seagulls tend to avoid anything that has a color red. It could be that the color hurts their eyes or reminds them of a potential predator.

Although the jury is out to this method, there’s nothing to lose if you try.

7. Mild zappers

In some areas where seagulls aren’t protected, they would use killer zappers that will shock the birds to death. But since the gulls are protected by law in the U.S., you should tone it down on a safe level.

You can use a flat strip of a conductor connected to a source of an electrostatic pulse. When the bird tries to perch on it, they will be met with a mild shock. It’s low enough not to harm them but it will surely send the message.

8. Ask the help of professionals

If the seagull infestation is starting to go out of hand, you’ll need the help of professional bird proofers. This way, you no longer have to experiment with various methods. Also, they can install the water blasters in the right position.

Since seagulls can be pretty clever, they can be a pain to eliminate without using violence. So to avoid violating any laws, you might as well tap the help of pros.

Top 2 Seagull Deterrents You Should Use

If you’re desperate to find seagull deterrents that actually work, here are two of the items that we swear by.

Bird Blinder Fake Owl Decoy

how to get rid of seagulls

If you are in need of a seagull deterrent, you can try the Bird Blinder Fake Own Decoy. It’s a simple owl statue with intimidating eyes that will surely drive the gulls away. It stands 16.5” tall which looks like the real thing from afar – a guaranteed way on how to get rid of seagulls.

This owl statue is hand-painted to achieve an almost real appearance. You can place this on your boat, garden, or boardwalk to scare the birds. Still, for this to work for a long time, you have to move it in different spots multiple times a day.

This owl statue has a bottom plug so you can fill it with water or stones. You can also use the hole to place it on a stake. There are two hooks in the package should you wish to hang the statue.

This owl statue from Bird Blinder has reflective eyes which will blind the gulls. However, if you’re planning to use this as a peacock scarer, we’re not sure if the size is enough to send the large bird running.


✔️Reflective eyes for added deterrence

✔️Bright color that’s easy to spot

✔️Works for squirrels and woodpeckers too


❌Use it with sand or rocks inside. Water tends to leak out of the plug.

Hoont Cobra Yard Motion-Activated Water Blaster

how to get rid of seagulls

If owl decoys are too modest to drive the pesky birds away, the next best option is to install a water blaster on your place. This is a bit more expensive, but no gulls can stand the force of shooting water.

The Hoont Cobra Yard Motion-Activated Water Blaster is a piece of adjustable equipment that can work for 24 hours a day.

This can be mounted on the soil or tied on a stake for coastal areas. If you adjust the head well, this can have a 1,000-square feet coverage. Once the blaster detected movement, it will shoot water for 5 seconds which is enough to drive gulls away.

You don’t have to worry since this has very low water consumption. You can even source the water directly from the sea if you’re installing it on a boardwalk.

Aside from the blasting water, the equipment will also emit a clicking sound that will add more scare effect. Take note, though, that even the motion of people passing by can be detected by the blaster. The proper placement is necessary to avoid someone from getting soaked.


✔️5-second blasting cycle

✔️30-feet detection range

✔️Works in 4A batteries

✔️Works even at night


❌Not ideal of high traffic areas


Knowing how to get rid of seagulls is a must, especially if the birds are starting to compromise the safety of the area. At all means, avoid any fatal methods of driving the birds away. As much as gulls are pesky, they are protected by law. Violating it would only land you on a bigger problem.