HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Science » Science (Group) » How to stop a gull from s...

Wed Aug 7, 2019, 01:15 AM

How to stop a gull from stealing your food

By Katie CameroAug. 6, 2019 , 7:01 PM

If you’ve ever been to the beach, you’ve probably also been here: afternoon sun beaming on your skin, waves crashing on the shore, and a hungry gull squawking as it swoops down to steal your sandwich. Such beach banditry may seem unavoidable, but new research has a solution: Staring down thieving gulls may make them think twice before snatching your food.

Herring gulls (Larus argentatus) are common in coastal cities and towns; their nests are on roofs instead of cliffs, and their food comes from the trash instead of the ocean. Gull-versus-human conflicts usually end in the death of the birds (from, for example, steel spikes that people install on rooftops). To understand how to protect the gulls—and save humans from headache—researchers tested whether the human gaze can affect bird behavior.

The researchers observed 74 herring gulls in coastal towns in Cornwall, U.K. They placed a transparent bag of potato chips in front of a human experimenter who was crouched close to the ground (see video). In one trial, the human looked directly at the bird and timed how long it took the bird to approach the bag. In another trial, the human looked away from the bird as it contemplated its next move. A trial was considered complete when the bird pecked the bag, or when the bag remained untouched for more than 5 minutes.

Of the 74 gulls, only 19 stayed in place long enough to complete both trials. It took the birds a median time of 25 seconds to peck the chips while being looked at, and just 13 seconds when free from a glaring eye. Although six birds refused to touch the food while being stared down, all of the birds deemed it safe to peck the chips when the human was looking away, researchers report today in Biology Letters.

More:
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/08/how-stop-gull-stealing-your-food



3 replies, 800 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 3 replies Author Time Post
Reply How to stop a gull from stealing your food (Original post)
Judi Lynn Aug 7 OP
Princess Turandot Aug 7 #1
donkeypoofed Aug 7 #2
KT2000 Aug 7 #3

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Aug 7, 2019, 02:16 AM

1. Tell that to an East River gull...

"Seriously?"


Gull (with the Greenpoint, Brooklyn water tanks)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Aug 7, 2019, 02:34 AM

2. We don't give animals near enough credit for their smarts

Most animals are smart. Sure, just like people some can be "dumb as a post", but most are smart.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Wed Aug 7, 2019, 02:57 AM

3. the Ravens at Yellowstone

can work Velcro, zippers, and snaps.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread