Are our seagulls getting a bad press?

Seagulls seem to be everywhere just now and the media has been having a field day reporting on various incidents involving attacks by the huge birds on members of the public.

Across the country calls have been made for the local authorities to take action and do something to address the problem, which seems to be worse at this time of year – the height of the breeding season. Some council’s provide a service for dealing with seagulls, and charge for it, but local authorities have no statutory obligation to do so.

As well as searching for food, the adult birds will do everything they can to protect their young if they suspect they could be under threat.

I heard one expert talking about it on the radio this week and he suggested that current methods of dealing with the increase in the urban seagull population were only moving the problem from one area to another, and that a more detailed and scientific approach, such as monitoring the birds behaviour using satelitte technology, would need to be introduced to find a solution.

Apparently urban seagulls (mainly herring gulls) do not travel to the coast to merge with seafront populations, but prefer to stay in and around our towns and cities.

Of course there are always two sides to every story and many people don’t have a problem with seagulls, but if you’ve every been attacked by one of the birds it can be a very scary experience.

Recently I was in Kirkcaldy and as I walked along the precint enjoying my Gregg’s pie I suddenly felt a great thump on my shoulder. Turning round I was stunned to see a huge seagull flapping its wings and its eyes firmly fixed on my pie, which I dropped to the ground.

Within seconds the bird had swooped down and flew off with my lunch.

Jim Holland