It's the nesting season. Sydney boat owners have been issued a plea: cover up your beloved vessels to stop seagulls making nests to raise their chicks.
Appeal from WIRES: Don’t let them nest on your boat
Animal rescue group WIRES have warned that baby seagulls are at risk during this month's breeding season unless owners take action now.
'We ask anyone leaving their boat moored during winter who hasn't, to please cover up open areas on their boat,' WIRES general manager Leanne Taylor said.
'WIRES can be called in to remove nests from boats, but the seagull chicks will not be reconnected with their mother and others won't adopt them. Our carers will hand-rear them until they can be released into the wild.
Baby seagulls rescued from a moored yacht in Sydney
'Preventing your boat becoming a nesting site is a far more preferable alternative to moving a nest on two levels. Your boat won't be spoiled when you return to it, and the seagull chicks will be reared by their parents in their natural habitat.'
In winter, seagulls take advantage of the thousands of boats moored in the city's waterways.
Taking the initiative to move a nest won't actually stop a seagull coming back searching for its eggs or seagull chicks, and the rate of survival of those chicks is extremely slim.
Ms Taylor said: 'Open areas on boats like the cockpit or an open locker are ideal sites for seagulls to build nests and lay eggs.
WIRES approach councils to educate residents on wildlife
'If you return to your boat in spring to find a seagull's nest on your boat, it is guaranteed that the related mess won't be easy to clean off or pleasant.
'What boat owners may not be aware of is, that seagulls cannot track a relocation of their nest.'