Mary Poppins had it all wrong never, EVER feed the birds.
An admittedly hilarious video by Twitter user @ohthatstricia shows an attempt to feed a seagull that went very, very wrong. Nearly a dozen seagulls swarm and chase a child down the beach in slow motion, no less for one measly little nugget.
The scene is like something out of Alfred Hitchcock’s horror film “The Birds.” How do we stop these seagulls before we’re driven screaming from the beach this summer?
The answer is simple: stop feeding the dang birds.
Many beachgoers toss their scraps to seagulls. Why let the food go to waste, right? Unfortunately, this feeding behavior teaches gulls to lurk near humans for a free handout, and even emboldens them to get aggressive. Wily seagulls near Brighton beach in England have been known to peck at women until they drop their food.
If you’re feeding birds out of love, know that you’re actually doing them more harm than good. Your tasty tidbits are much easier for seagulls to get than their natural food sources. Seagulls end up forgoing fish and insects in order to live on a diet of bread, fries and ice cream. If that diet isn’t good for humans, it certainly isn’t good for gulls.
Now, many of us don’t feed the birds, but that doesn’t stop them from stealing our beach eats. Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by Regina George a seagull.
There are a few things you can do to avoid a dive-bombing seagull at the beach this summer. First, don’t eat your food out in the open where the birds can see. Stand by a wall or underneath an awning while you snack. If you must eat on-the-go, try walking under an umbrella to block potential attacks. And when you see seagulls beginning to congregate nearby, you can always go back to basics: wave your arms and scream like a madman to scare them off.
Next time you consider tossing a few fries to a seagull, picture Tippi Hedren getting pecked nearly to death in “The Birds” and think again. Don’t ruin the beach for everyone this summer. Keep your snacks to yourself.