An engineer has described the moment he and his colleague had to fend off a flock of gulls – with a broom.
Derek Wilson was working on the roof at Peterhead Power Station when the seabirds began swooping down on him and his colleague, forcing them to take cover.
Mr Wilson and his colleague Jim Matthews, who were removing an old air conditioning unit, were then forced to take turns swinging a broom to scare them off.
The incident comes just a week after Aberdeenshire Council decided to take action amid growing concerns that Peterhead was being overrun by the gulls. Falconers are being drafted in to patrol the town centre with hawks, which will fly around Drummers’ Corner, Broad Street and Queen Street areas of the town to distract gulls who may be harassing shoppers.
Mr Wilson, who works for Glasgow-based firm B-DACS, said they were “bombarded” by the birds.
The 38-year-old said: “We had to take cover for a while. I don’t know what they’re feeding them up there but it got to the point where we were taking it in turns to swing a broom just so the other one could work.
“I’ve worked in Peterhead several times over the years and I know the high street is bad, but the power station is the worst.
“I think there are gulls nesting up there. I’ve never seen anything like it. You go on the roof and they attack you.
“They can see the fear in your eyes. It was intimidating.”
This year has been a very successful breeding season for herring and lesser black backed gulls, which are increasingly nesting around Peterhead – prompting the local authority to bring in the falconers while investigating ways to reduce bird numbers.
Heather Barclay, Peterhead town centre project officer and a former countryside ranger, said: “The nesting season typically begins in April, and the current issues in Peterhead are caused by young birds hatched this year competing for food with adults.
“Gulls can be very aggressive at this time, not only with each other but also towards people.
“In the meantime, it’s hoped the ‘fly and scare’ measures will reduce the risk of attacks on people.”
It is currently illegal to capture, harm or kill any wild bird or interfere with nests or eggs however the Scottish Government can issue licences to control certain species.