They're a part of the furniture in every seaside town. But they have been in the news recently, it's almost like people have only just found their voice to speak up. Seaside dwellers in the UK always complain under their breath because, well, the gulls are a protected species.
Coming from a seaside town myself I have grown up with the gulls so it never really bothered me. But I think I would be bothered if one stole my chip or pecked my child. I've heard stories about crazy gulls who dive bomb innocent people at all times of the day and night back up our old way!
Let's get a couple of things straight. It's nesting season. These are wild animals protecting their young. They nest in chimneys etc because they are not afraid of heights. They like cliffs. But the cliffs are slowly falling into the sea. Every time I speak to family back in the Homeland I can hear the gulls in the background, and my mother told me they start at 1am and don't stop. Nuisance. That's the word she uses.
I returned for a visit back in the spring and I noticed the gulls squawking at stupid o' clock, but if you visit a seaside town it is to be expected, right? But it didn't bother me. I also noticed that there was rubbish on the streets. Not just litter. Rubbish bags. The bins are collected once a fortnight, and then they complain about scavenging birds?
The gulls on the costa, however, are different. Maybe they're more chilled out and have the 'mañana' lifestyle, I don't really hear them until the fishing boats come in. Then I don't take much notice. I'm more than used to it by now.
Should they be culled? Should they be shot?
Barcelona has the answer for pigeons. Put them on the Pill? Perhaps council of seaside towns in the UK could consider something similar for the gulls? Actually Maybe not a good idea, how would you put contraceptive in their feed when they eat fresh fish? And sprinkling it onto rubbish bags that they break into wouldn't be practical either.
The gulls and all the other pests have as much of a right to be here as we have. Someone suggested taking their eggs? That'll cheer them right up, eh? Unfortunately, I don't have the solution or any practical ideas, but I'm waiting to hear if someone comes up with something as genius as the Barcelona pigeon plan!