Just today I received an email from a reported at a British newspaper in Yorkshire, England, asking if I knew anything about babies (human babies) being attacked by seagulls. No, I hadn’t, so I looked it up. Couldn’t find any information on baby attacks, but I read about others. One woman complained that her Chihuahua was carried off by a gull. The gull supposedly grabbed the dog by the scruff of the neck and carried it off. The dog weighed four pounds, which is as heavy as the largest gull, the Great Black-backed Gull. Frankly, I don’t believe it. Not only is a four pound dog too heavy for a four pound gull to carry off, but their bills are made for tearing, not carrying. Just does not seem likely.
Gulls can be aggressive, no doubt, and it could be that a gull actually did attack a dog – mind you, a dog with teeth and claws facing a gull with no teeth and minor toenails – but I doubt it was successful.
One elderly couple said they were held hostage in their house by a pair of gulls defending their nest. Apparently hundreds of people have been terrorized by the birds. One elderly may had to go to the hospital for injuries from a gull.
All I can say is “mass hysteria.” Yes, gulls can be aggressive, especially if you get between them and their nests. But it would be extremely rare for a gull to actually injure someone – they just aren’t that dangerous. But some Brits have taken it so seriously that you can now get a job as a gull control officer for the equivalent of $30,000 a year.
“Seagull attacks are on the rise in Cornwall and people are getting injuries in their mouths” was the headline on a news story on the website of Cornish newspaper the West Briton last week. Well, ewww. But true. The gulls are literally taking the food from the mouths of babes. Claire Field, community pharmacist based at Carbis Bay, told the newspaper: “My colleagues at the Leddra pharmacy may see one or two people a week when the birds are nesting who have been hurt by an aggressive seagull.
Well, think about all of this. We go to the seashore, the gulls’ habitat, lay our lunch on the ground, leave food scraps everywhere, and put toasts or some other snack in the mouth of babes and wonder why gulls come around and attack us. They don’t want us, they want food. I guarantee that if you stay away from their nests and don’t have any food with you, gulls will ignore you.