Gulls, often referred to as "seagulls," are a group of birds belonging to the family Laridae. According to Seattle Audubon's Bird Web, "The family Laridae is made up of birds closely associated with water. Distributed throughout the world, representatives of this family nest on every continent, including Antarctica.
Clutch size is generally small, varying from one to four eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs and help feed the young. The young typically hatch covered with down and stay in the nest for a few days, after which they leave the nest but stay nearby. Most, especially in Washington, raise a single brood a year. This group is known for its elaborate displays in the air and on the ground."
There are more than a dozen gull species in Washington State. They are especially numerous on the outer coast and on the shores of Puget Sound, but many can be found further inland on lakes, ponds and along rivers.
Gull diets vary, but fish, crustaceans, mollusks, other aquatic invertebrates and dead animals comprise a large part of the diet of most species. Many gull species are very tolerant of human activity and congregate in large numbers on pilings, breakwaters, roofs of buildings, and other human-created structures near water.
Most conflicts with gulls involve their roosting where they are not wanted. Gulls are relatively large birds and their droppings are not insignificant. Even a few gulls perching regularly on the roof of a house can add a layer of undesirable whitewash to the roof in a fairly short period of time.
Gulls are also very vocal, and when gathered in large numbers they are capable of disturbing the sleep, or general peace and quiet for humans.
The most effective way to avoid conflicts with gulls is to eliminate roosting sites, or make your property unappealing to the birds. If you property is near the water, this can be a challenge.
In addition to eliminating roosting sites, don't intentionally or unintentionally attract gulls.
Above: A gull in care at PAWS Wildlife Center