POLICE are investigating the killing of a number of birds in Hereford.

Gulls and magpies were among the creatures found with mortal injuries at Rotherwas Industrial Estate.

Recently there have been complaints about gulls being a nuisance in the city centre. People have told of damaged property, and of gulls swooping on people and pets during the early summer when they seek to protect their young.

Hereford Times:

RELATED NEWS: A gull foraging at a Hereford city centre restaurant last week

Earlier this month the Hereford Times reported on how gulls had been feasting on rubbish torn from bags of waste left for collection outside businesses.

Herefordshire Council contractors say that since 2008 they have removed around 2,275 nests and 4,229 eggs.

Hereford’s gull population had been reduced from 500 to around 150 breeding pairs in 2017.

They say Royal Society for the Protection of Birds guidance is always followed to avoid harming birds and chicks.

Hereford Times: Gulls foraging for food earlier this month among rubbish sacks in Hereford city centreGulls foraging for food earlier this month among rubbish sacks in Hereford city centre

RELATED NEWS: Gulls foraging among rubbish sacks in Hereford city centre earlier this month

Magpies have become, after pigeons, one of the most vilified birds in the UK despite their intelligence.

The RSPCA says one of the reasons for their unpopularity is their "cheekiness".

Some people regard them as having a challenging, almost arrogant attitude. And in folklore, together with similarly sized and coloured crows and ravens, they have been associated with dark practices.

They also take the eggs and chicks of other species.

It is illegal to kill wild birds. They, their nests and eggs are protected by law under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Penalties included unlimited fines, up to six months imprisonment or both.

There are, however, exceptions, the key one of which is that a licensed landowner or occupier can kill or take, in certain situations and by certain methods, so-called pest species and destroy or take the nest or eggs of such a bird.

Populations of gulls in urban areas are increasing for a variety of reasons. While their traditional food sources in coastal areas are declining, there is plenty for them to forage inland on landfill sites, ploughed fields and town centres where discarded food can be plentiful.