Seaside towns in Britain are constantly at war with their seagulls. Aside from the warning signs placed on the deck and railings, visitors are urged not to feed the birds to stop them from snatching food from tourists’ hands.
In order to stop the birds from stealing your food, a research from the University of Exeter suggests an easy way – stare at them.
According to the research, seagulls take 21 seconds longer to approach a bag of chips that had been left when a human stared at them.
“Gulls are often seen as aggressive and willing to take food from humans, so it was interesting to find that most wouldn’t even come near during our tests,” lead author Madeleine Goumas, from the Center for Ecology and Conservation at Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, told Reuters.
74 seagulls were approached but most of them just flew away. 27 of them approached the food and 19 of them completed the “looking at” and “looking away” tests.
“Of those that did approach, most took longer when they were being watched,” Goumas said. “Some wouldn’t even touch the food at all, although others didn’t seem to notice that a human was staring at them.”
– Seagull snatches chihuahua, leaving owners distraught
– ‘Exotic bird’ turned out to be a seagull doused in curry
– Sneaky seagull photobombs and steals woman’s lobster roll in New England