Posted: 27/07/2015 at 06:37
If you take notice of which species of gull you see following ships, especially fishing vessels, you will see that they are always Herring Gulls - they are by nature opportunist feeders; same thing at coastal colonies - they are the ones that steal other birds' food and eat other birds. Therefore you can't expect them to change their habits to suit us. We are at the moment taking away some of their food sources, by different fishing methods, improved practices at refuse tips, coastal degradation, etc. So they will look elsewhere to scavenge and, as Pansyface says, where better than towns and cities where food is plentiful through people providing a 24/7 buffet?
We are in the middle of a very noticeable process of change with Herring Gulls and our reaction is to blame the birds, which are only doing their best to survive. The only advice you can give to people is not to make themselves a target, i.e. don't sit on the sea-front at Looe with a tray of fish and chips next to a sign that says 'Don't feed the gulls'.