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The Birds - evil or misunderstood?

I realise that number one sone and I are incredibly fortunate to live in an idyllic setting like Cornwall. It is every bit the ‘Poldark’ country seen on the Sunday night drama (without the fabulous outfits). There is, dare I say, a minor blot on the landscape!

Today I went to a local fishing town with friends. It was a lovely day so we took a picnic to have on the beach. As we settled on my classic tartan picnic blanket and started to unload our food there was an eerie sense of being watched. My friend produced her two year old niece’s pot of rice and there was rapid heightened activity in the skies above us. The hovering seagulls became louder and louder as more and more gathered. Suddenly there was a swoosh, something pushed against the side of my head and one of the sky-borne muggers had made off with my friend’s sandwich! We were forced to pack up and move on.

We’re certainly not the first victims of these assassins of the air and as the Summer holidays approach will surely not be the last. Are they evil conspirators plotting to ruin our family beach days or much maligned, misunderstood creatures? In a recent BBC article Rebecca Lakin, a St Andrew’s PhD student, claims that junk food could be causing our urban seagulls to behave uncharacteristically aggressively. She is currently comparing the behaviour of wild island birds on a healthy diet with that of the urban gulls eating a high fat, high carbohydrate diet. She also believes that some of the behaviour is down to following their natural instincts of protecting their young and stealing food when their chicks are in need.

Following our Hitchcock-esque encounter today I am more inclined to encourage the reduction and avoidance of these birds as they victimise humans out enjoying themselves, I like the action of a town council of a seaside town in Belgium who have started to give the gulls food laced with a contraceptive pill!


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