Last week I spent some time in Devon – risky eh?!
I even spent some time on the coast.
I saw a lot of gulls – big gulls. Really big gulls.
And many of them saw me too.
I even went to Brixham.
And I survived.
It would have been ironic to have been killed by gulls and not be able to have such a fab day at the Game Fair.
I’ve never been attacked by a gull but I’m sure it does happen, and I’m sure it’s a bit worrying if it does. Actually, what’s happening to this bloke looks quite frightening. I know I could cope with it but if you aren’t used to birds then it would be very scary. Let’s not minimise the importance of the trauma to people but let’s not overreact either.
If gulls are a problem for people then sometimes, yes sometimes, I’d be prepared to see the gulls taught a lesson. I’m not sure whether I’m allowed to biff a gull on its beak if it comes after my fish and chips but that would certainly be my first reaction – and I’m not really a biffing type of guy. A few biffs might sort it out.
But what if it doesn’t? Well, then I’d be prepared to see a few problem gulls taken away down the road and released to try to solve the problem.
And if it doesn’t solve the problem, then sometimes, very rarely, I’d be prepared to see a few Herring Gulls get taken out completely to stop them attacking people. Are you shocked? Well, there you go.
I would be less keen on seeing people getting a biffing if they feed gulls and thus encourage gulls to steal food – I’d try talking to the people first. After that, then maybe some people-biffing might be a good idea but I’m not sure that is very easy. And capturing people and taking them 20 miles down the road for feeding gulls would be tricky too. I’m definitely against shooting people even if they feed gulls.
But, as with many problems in life, and this is not the biggest problem we face, if you don’t tackle the cause then you’ll have to tackle the symptoms for ever. It’s quite difficult to reason with Herring Gulls (and Lesser Black-Backs can be so unreasonable too) so we’d better start with the people. Will they really be any easier?
How much do we want to solve this problem? And how much do we want to read about it every summer when there is nothing much happening in the world?
Unless we do a great job on public education then we are going to end up bumping off a few gulls. And that would be a shame. Apparently, if they were lions it would be a bigger shame.
So, unless we enforce no-littering rules on seaside promenades, and no-feeding-gulls zones in those places, and maybe, horror of horrors, have no-eating-of-fish-and-chips-outdoors zones for several months a year in a very few parts of a very few seaside towns then we aren’t really attempting to solve the problem at source, we are merely wishing it would go away or sticking our heads in the Brixham sands.
But I survived Brixham – completely unmolested by gulls.