Staring at seagulls may deter them from stealing your food, research says

We’re going way off the rails here, but:


What about staring at the bastards who feed the damn seagulls, leaving them subsequently wanting for my food or food-shaped items?

Yeah, I’m looking at you!

1 Like

Here’s looking at you, kid birdie.

You can stare all you want at the skuas at Mc Murdo station, and they will stare right back at you as they fly off with your food.



Stares back, does it?

1 Like

it doesnt; cause the same trick works for crows too (speaking from experience).

Makes sense. Predators often stare before they attack. I think we’ve all noticed how you can see somebody staring at you out of the corner of your eyes. It wouldn’t surprise me to discover that there is a hard-wired part of the visual cortex to detect this.


But while you’re staring at one…


I once noticed a few crows chasing and harassing a few gulls for the food one of the gulls was carrying. Opportunistic piraticism going both ways there…

It’s not stealing if you’ve been staring at them for 21 seconds before they do it. It’s squatters rights.

Staring did not seem to discourage this guy


So am I. You can only stare in so many directions at once.



He’ll definitely steal your chips.

Herring gulls (the gull in the video) are obviously smart, resourceful animals. This means they’re opportunistic, and sometimes do things we’d think are horrific. But they’ve had to opportunists, as they’re in decline in the UK:

And in North America as well:

Their decline is attributed not just to the closing of the many open landfills that seemed to support them years ago, but also to the general decline in fish populations:

Another example of their adaptive smarts: herring gulls consume shellfish such as clams by flying upwards with the clam, then dropping it onto a hard surface, breaking the shell. They then fly back down and feed. This is apparently a learned behavior, and there are many studies on it:

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.