Seagulls cause all sorts of controversy in St Ives. They are often seen as a real pest and can completely ruin a beach picnic. We have had many an ice cream or pasty swiped from our hands in a blink of an eye. So sadly we rarely eat on the beach these days - unless we have got a beach tent with us.
The main type of seagull you will see in St Ives is the Herring Gull. This is a large, noisy bird with light grey backs, white under parts and black wing tips with white "mirrors". Their legs are pink with webbed feet. They have heavy, slightly hooked bills marked with a red spot.
The young birds are mottled brown without the red spot on their beaks.
This species is on the red list due to ongoing population declines and wintering population declines.We also get some Lesser Black-Backed Gulls. These are quite a bit bigger than the Herring Gulls and have much darker wings. They are often seen in pairs and don't tend to congregate in big groups like the Herring Gulls do. I've never seen these gulls attack people for food. I like them!
People have made St Ives seagulls what they are today. There is always someone who thinks they are being kind by feeding the seagulls. Or think that it is just a bit of fun to set up a swoop in for a funny photo.
Our fast food habit has also caused the problem. As has our huge amount of rubbish we create.
DON'T FEED THEM. Really, please don't feed them. There is plenty of food out at sea for them. The more they get used to not having access to food on the beach and in the town, the more they will return to their normal behaviours.
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