Herring gull (Larus argentatus)
Herring gulls are commonly know as sea gulls, however this is incorrect as they spend as much time on land as they do on the coast. Sadly they are seen by some people as a pest. We do not share that view. These birds have as much right to be on this planet as any other creature and should be respected for what they are - beautiful, intelligent creatures.
Unfortunately much of the negative comments directed at these gulls is fuelled by unthinking and uncaring radio presenters. A presenter on a recent radio programme described gulls as 'rats of the air'. Unfortunately comments such as this are picked up by those listening and bandied about as fact.
Even more amazing was a remark made on air by someone who professed to be a man of the land, he said gulls were a pest. Surely anyone who is connected with the land would not say such a thing, gulls are the farmers' friends, we have all seen them following the plough and devouring harmful grubs that would destroy valuable crops.
Flying ants also are devoured by gulls, when these insects erupt from the ground and rise up into the air, as they do in the late summer every year, the sky is full of gulls - both Herring gulls and Black-headed gulls - they can be seen wheeling around catching and consuming tons of these insects - for their own benefit and ours.
We should be thanking the gulls for helping to control real pests.
If we, the human race, were not so wasteful with food, Herring gulls would not be so attracted to the towns. Also if we left them alone when they nested on their cliff nest sites they might not seek shelter in our towns.