Researchers at the University of Exeter in the UK focused their attention on Herring Gull’s behavior. Specifically, their behavior when it comes to food. They can be quite aggressive when the food people hold in their hands becomes something they want. And the study reveals that the food people hold in their hands is the one the Herring Gulls prefer just because it was touched by humans.
The Herring Gull Is Using Humans to Choose Its Food
They are very opportunistic birds that seem to have many sources of food. Squeaking and begging for food from humans, they don’t hesitate if it comes to stealing.
The male European herring gull is 60–67 cm long and the wingspan can range from 125 to 155 cm. they can be quite frightening when they come to steal your pancake. Despite their name, they have no special preference for herrings.
The UK European herring gull population has decreased by 50% in 25 years and it is protected by law: since January 2010. The herring gull must be regarded as a natural cleaner”, and just as with crows, they help by keeping rats away from the surface in the urban environment by eating the potential rat food before the rats get the chance. Unlike real scavengers, herring gulls also eat most other things than meat, like wasted food of all kinds, from bread to human vomit. They seldom eat fresh fruit, but windfalls and rotten fruit seem more desired.
The New study on Herring Gull
Due to Herring Gull’s behavior, the study was necessary. 38 gulls were tested. In front of two buckets full of wrapped flapjacks the birds their preference for human handled food. One of the flapjacks in a bucket was touched by a researcher for twenty seconds in front of the bird, and this was the flapjack 79% of the birds preferred to eat. So, there is nothing much we can do. The Herring Gull is using us. If we touch it, they eat it.