Seagulls – is it a return to ‘The Birds’?


I don’t like horror movies not even good ones but ‘Seagulls or a return to The Birds’ let’s you know that I’m scared. I have always loved the sound of seagulls at the seaside. It is a comfort to hear their cries as they glide up in the thermals. On a stormy night, you know that the sea is rough as their calls become more frantic, almost sending messages of ‘keep safe’.

Visiting a harbour or beach, you expect to see them rummaging in any scraps that might have been left and certainly they tell onlookers that there is a good catch from a boat when they surround it en masse. as it comes into dock.

I live in Bristol and yes we have a harbour but it is not a fishing harbour in the way those in Devon or Cornwall are. Seagulls will always be seen where there is water I know but we do not expect them IN THE HIGH STREET where they swoop and attack shoppers grabbing a bite to eat as they walk.  The other evening there was a large number of them circling above my house (photo does not give true idea of numbers but there was A LOT).



Seagulls circling


It reminded me of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. I haven’t actually sat through it from beginning to end and have made tea at the scary parts but looking up into the sky the other evening I could imagine it.

Seagulls – One of Nature’s Boldest Thieves

As luck would have it, there was a programme Nature’s Boldest Thieves on BBC one about creatures that are adapting to urban settings and doing very well. One group they concentrated on was seagulls. They studied them at St Ives and were able to find out that they have a particular strategy for stealing food and that it is a core of gulls that do the thieving. In a way it was very impressive to see them apparently thinking through their flight plans to be as successful as they could be.

So, is this change in behaviour down to an evolution within the seagulls own development? Are they destined to take over the world eventually or certainly those places that have water nearby? Or is it due to humankind changing it’s habits to more outdoor eating along our pavements. I’m sure the fact that people leave rubbish on the street in flimsy bags which foxes (another one of the groups covered in the programme) can easily gain access to is the cause of much detritus across our roads.

What ever it is, I’m not happy about the seagulls circling above my house. For those of you who want a reminder, here is one of the scary clips from ‘The Birds’. As for me I’m off behind the sofa!

Any ornithologists out there with a view? Anyone with any suggestions how man and birds can live in harmony with each other?


Please click to share


  • travelwithmrst

    Ah, “The Birds”–because of that movie, my mother-in-law is terrified of birds! I agree with Isobel. I think we have to be more aware of our trash . When neighbors leave their bi-weekly trash out at the curb in only trash bags, stray animals tear into them and scatter the trash everywhere. Making sure that trash bags with food in them are in covered trash containers will help the situation. Of course, when you have issues of trash collectors on strike, that is another problem altogether! Birds are creatures of habit, and most species are quite territorial. Once they have established said habits, it will be hard to eliminate the problems they create.

    • I agree about the rubbish left out on the pavement. Here in Bristol we have an excellent collection system but with so many students sharing houses they never seem to pass on the information about using it!

  • They certainly are cheeky thieves. We were on Eastbourne Pier last year and one swooped down and stole a load of chips from a boys hand. We sat inside for ours.

  • I often think we can learn things from Seagulls, tenacity, teamwork, pushing boundaries. Now that could be a blog in its own right

  • I saw the programme Julia and it made me smile as my lasting memory of St Ives is losing not only my dinner but also my glasses as I was eating fish and chips by the harbour!

  • splashofindigo

    I too find the sound of seagulls relaxing. Unfortunately they have taken over parking lots and other public places. But sometimes, I just close my eyes and listen to their “chatter” and pretend I’m at the beach 🙂

  • “As they glide up the thermals”: is this a euphemism?
    I think seagulls, like crows and urban foxes get a bad press where it is the behaviour of humans that cause the problems. If we didn’t habitually drop food leftovers, or leave them in easily torn open plastic bags, these animals would not be scavenging them in the same way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.