The ‘clap for carers’ movement has been praised for many reasons - but one unexpected bonus of the national outpouring of support is that it is keeping seagulls away, according to a local council.
Worcester City Council said the weekly applause for NHS and key workers on Thursday evenings is stopping the birds from nesting in the city.
Officials are now encouraging people to continue supporting those helping fight the coronavirus pandemic, but also to use the “new and innovative” tactic to reduce the gull population.
The council said it has used a variety of tactics to resolve the issue of seagulls in Worcester, including the use of acoustic devices that emit recorded gull distress calls through a megaphone which has reportedly seen them flee as soon as they hear it.
Weekly Thursday night claps and cheers are also apparently having a similar effect.
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Councillor Joy Squires, chair of Worcester City Council's Environment Committee, said: “It's fantastic to see some new and innovative tactics being used in our bid to discourage gulls from nesting in Worcester.
"While we continue to stay at home, less food and refuse is being discarded in the city centre, which will significantly reduce the gulls' food supply.
She said: "We also know that an increased human presence discourages gulls from nesting on sites, so the lockdown does give residents a big opportunity to really make their presence known to potential nesters.
"I'd also encourage Worcester residents to keep on clapping and cheering in support of key workers.
"Not only is it helping to raise morale, but it appears to be helping to keep our gull population at bay too!"
The council, which is investing £30,000 in the 2020/21 financial year to help businesses and residents deter gulls from nesting, said it has started a count of the city’s gull population so it can accurately monitor changes in the birds’ numbers and characteristics.