Why Seagulls Are Not Angry Just \'misunderstood\'

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Name: Seagull rage.

Prevalence: High in coastal areas.

Symptoms: Bouts of severe anger, sudden food dispersal.

Poor seagulls. It must be so stressful for them sharing their habitat with nasty old homo sapiens. You misunderstand. It’s not the gulls who are enraged. It’s people who are getting angry with the gulls.

Why’s that? Various reasons. Mainly the gulls’ provocative behaviour.

Hey! They can’t help it. And if they swooped at you, or stole your lunch, wouldn’t you get angry?

Perhaps. In some cases it’s personal. In Tiverton, Devon, a man called Jonathan Widdowson – and only Jonathan Widdowson – is being attacked every morning by a seagull as he walks through a churchyard on his way to work.

Crikey. It’s like that bit in The Omen 2. Maybe not quite that bad. Widdowson has been impressively calm so far, considering he needs access to the churchyard to play Pokémon Go.

Disaster. One unidentified man in Weston-super-Mare on Tuesday was sadly not so calm.

What happened? Reports vary, but it seems that, as he was eating on the seafront, a gull swooped down and ate one of his chips.

Outrageous! D

id he climb into its nest and eat its vomited-up fish? It doesn’t sound likely. Anyway, the man responded by grabbing the gull’s webbed feet and smacking it against a wall.

Oh.

That’s going too far. The injured bird was later put down by a vet. “It’s vermin, you should teach your children about vermin,” the man was reportedly heard to say to a shocked woman who asked what he was doing.

Is he right? Definitely not. All gulls are protected by law. In Britain, it is a criminal offence to kill or injure a wild bird.

Even a pigeon? Unless it is part of a lawful cull or pest-control programme, yes. The man is now being sought by the RSPCA.

Quite right, too. Seagull rage must be stamped out. That may be tricky, especially right now.

Why’s that? The summer is when the gulls have chicks, meaning they need lots of food and can be especially defensive. Unfortunately, it’s also humans’ eating-chips-outdoors season.

A cruel coincidence. Indeed. One researcher is trying to understand whether urban living might change the behaviour of gulls.

You mean overcrowding and junk food makes them lairy? Perhaps. It certainly leads them into kleptoparasitism.

Eh? Stealing food.

Well they can hardly buy it, can they? Fair point.

Do say: “Gulls just wanna have fun.”

Don’t say: “Hey, they’re kleptoparasites. They know the risks.”

Source : https://www.theguardian.com/environment/shortcuts/2018/jul/20/seagull-rage-why-humans-and-birds-are-at-war-in-britain

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