The summer months are the worst for gull attacks because the territorial parents are protective of their chicks. But what can you do to protect yourself against the ‘razor sharp beak’ of a swooping gull?
Adam Grogan, senior scientist for the RSPCA, said, “All it takes is a little care and understanding to minimise any inconvenience caused by gulls – they are normally just behaving in a natural way.
“For instance, you can’t blame them for not knowing the difference between scraps willingly offered and your own bag of chips. They are simply wild animals following their instincts to find food.
“They don’t necessarily know that their nest is blocking your gas flue and like any protective mum, their swooping is often just a way of keeping their babies safe.
“The RSPCA believes that deterrents and non-lethal methods of control are far better at helping to reduce problems. Not feeding the gulls and disposing of rubbish properly is one thing we can all do to prevent gulls from causing a nuisance.”
The RSPCA says gull chicks should be left alone unless they are obviously injured. Keeping away from the chicks will prevent protective parents dive bombing.
However, Trevor Weeks MBE, from local charity East Susex Wildlife Rescue Ambulance Service, says many people, including postmen, may not realise a baby gull has fallen from a roof and is hidden in a bush by the front door of someone’s house – resulting in an unexpected attack.
Mr Weeks said, “The gulls will dive bomb if they feel under threat or they are protecting their chicks.
“If it becomes a problem, and certainly in the case of the postman, wear a hard hat.
“We always wear hard hats when we go out to gull rescues. It is the same as wearing a cycle helmet when you go out on a bike.
“An umbrella would also be a good idea.”
Keep food to yourself.
Try eating your fish and chips under an umbrella on the seafront this weekend.
Dispose of edible litter
Carefully put it in a gull-proof litter bin.
If you see a gull chick usually mottled brown and grey in colour - leave it alone and keep your distance.
Wear a hard hat in known problem areas or take cover under an umbrella.
If all else fails:
Duck, shield your head and get away from the area as quickly as possible.
If you find an injured gull, or have any information of a gull being treated cruelly call the RSPCA’s cruelty line on 0300 1234 999.