Black-headed seagulls are often seen around Rīga, for instance, at the Bastejkalns canal or Uzvaras Park. They also make their nests in and around ponds and lakes, among them – the Bērziņu pond in Veselava near Bērzkrogs in the Vidzeme region. On May 16, 2021, Artis Krūmiņš was SUP-boarding on the pond and for reasons unclear – possibly annoyance with the birds screaming – smashed over ten bird eggs with his paddle.
Ornithologist Andris Klepers saw the violent act through binoculars while observing bird colonies, and filmed the incident. The island where Krūmiņš smashed the eggs was not the perpetrator's property and even if it were, this would not be an excuse. The black-headed gulls are included in the list of specially protected species in Latvia.
Krūmiņš has now been fined EUR 50,000 and given 140 hours of community service. Nature Conservation Agency (DAP) representative Gita Strode told Latvian Radio that this was Latvia's first real punishment for egg destruction. DAP's expert on bird matters Pēteris Daknis said this was not the first instance of black-headed gull egg destruction but previously there had not been enough evidence for prosecutions.
"Latvia has 95 species of birds on its specially protected list, including the black-headed gull. But this list doesn't even really matter with direct egg destruction. All birds are protected by law during nesting period. It is also a crime to push a crow's nest off your own apple tree. The penalties are laid down by law, with gradation on bird species. It's very high for the black-headed gull," said Daknis.