We are appealing for information after three herring gulls were shot with an airgun in a Cumbrian town.

Gull with air gun wound © RSPCAThe birds were found on Church Street in St Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria with several air gun pellets scattered around them last Wednesday (12 June). Two had died, and a third was badly injured and taken to a vet for treatment.

Bits of bread were also found nearby, which is thought to have been used to attract the birds to a spot where they could be easily targeted.

The third gull was taken to a vet for treatment and x-rays revealed two air pellets lodged in his chest. He is being given antibiotics and will be released back to the wild when he is better.

The third gull is expected to make a full recovery

RSPCA Inspector Will Lamping said:

“The good news is that the third gull miraculously survived and is expected to make a full recovery.


“But the bad news is there are some callous people out there who think it is acceptable to take such deliberate shots at these poor birds – even using bread to coax them out in quite a calculated way. It is likely to have been a slow and painful way to die.


“Every year we have problems with people deliberately targeting gulls as they are seen by some as pests and a nuisance. But they are simply wildlife following their opportunist nature to search for food which is often discarded as rubbish by ourselves, and in any case it’s against the law to treat them with such senseless cruelty.


“I would urge anyone with information about this case to come forward and let me know on 0300 123 8018.”

Gull populations are in decline

Injured gull x-ray © RSPCA

Gulls are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, making it an offence to do anything which causes suffering to wild birds and action can only be taken against them under licence. We believe that deterrents and non-lethal methods of control are far better at helping to reduce problems. Not feeding the gulls and disposing of rubbish properly are both examples of actions we can all take to prevent gulls from causing a nuisance.

Herring gulls in particular are a species of conservation concern and research has shown that overall gull populations are actually in decline.

If you find an injured gull, or have any information of a gull being treated cruelly, please call the RSPCA’s cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.

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