Exclusion of Ring-billed Gulls (Larus delawarensis) from recreational beaches using canid harassment

Dustin W. Jordan, Michelle E. Kane, Thomas M. Gehring, Rebeccah L. Sokol, Elizabeth W. Alm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) populations have dramatically increased throughout their geographic range with the largest concentrations in the Great Lakes region of Canada and the United States. Large populations of gulls cause conflict with humans at recreational beaches, where their effects on human health and safety include bacteria contamination from gull feces. We used border collies to harass and exclude gulls from beaches in summer 2012 and 2013, then measured gull numbers and Escherichia coli. Dogs were effective at reducing gull numbers by 56-76% during continuous and noncontinuous dog treatment periods. Levels of E. coli were lower on dog-treated beaches, but only during the first half of the summer. Mixed modeling analysis showed presence of dogs was a strong predictor of gull numbers and E. coli levels, with variation among dogs, possibly related to age. Noncontinuous use of dogs, applied within an integrated beach management framework, can provide a nonlethal method for reducing gull use and E. coli levels at recreational beaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberduy002
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 23 2019


  • Dog
  • Escherichia coli
  • Great Lakes
  • Ring-billed Gull
  • gull exclusion
  • nonlethal management
  • recreational beach
  • wildlife-human conflict


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