A wildlife sanctuary is urging Brits to be nicer to seagulls, saying attitudes must change as the birds are simply misunderstood.
Often described by disgruntled holidaymakers as ‘flying rats’, it’s fair to say that seagulls aren’t exactly man’s best friend on the British Isles.
But Athena Wildlife Care in Plymouth, Devon, wants us to rethink the seagull’s position as public enemy number one, having called on people to be kinder to the birds.
In an appeal on the charity’s Facebook group, which has a community of 3,800 users, founder, director and CEO Lianne Phillips shared a graphic titled ‘Understanding Gulls’.
It outlines a number of examples of specific seagull behaviour, linking them to human interference.
“Our attitude to the herring gull has to change,” it says.
"They are intelligent and opportunistic yet their numbers have dropped by 50% in the last 30-years, making it another species to be on the red list.”
“Gulls do not need culling - they need to be understood!”
According to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), all species of gull are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, meaning it is illegal to intentionally harm them, destroy their nests or hurt the contents of the nest.
Explaining how human action can impact gulls’ behaviours, the post continued: “They steal our food… we feed them.
“They invade our rooftops… we have invaded their nesting ground. They scavenge our streets… we litter our streets.
“They should be out at sea… we overfish. They come inland… we have mountains of landfill.
“They swoop to attack people… we run them over, maliciously attack, poison, shoot them… they are protecting their babies.”
Despite seagulls being notoriously hated, the post won a surprising amount of support, with many social media users coming to the defence of the seaside pest.
One person commented: ''Agree. I love seagulls. As a kid you could buy tiny ceramic ones... I've one my granny collected too. We cherished them then.''
Another said: ''Their noise to me is the song of the sea... it wouldn't be so wonderful without it.''
Someone else wrote: ''I love gulls and am saddened by the way they are treated by most humans and because they are on the red list.''
A fourth added: ''So true, I’m sick of people disliking them.''Featured Image Credit: Alamy