Crab Diaries: A letter to Manx Seagulls

I am not an ornithologist. Generally, I think birds fall somewhere between okay and nice.

I have, however, noted that the Manx seagull is unique in character. They are the scallies of the natural world.

Now, in preparation for this edition of Crab diaries, I have done some research. According to a website called ‘Bird Seed Expert’, a website that I trust to not spread fake bird news, says that seagulls “will pretty much eat anything”. No sh*t. They also, interestingly claim that “research shows seagulls are more likely to eat something they’ve observed a human eat”. This is also not particularly surprising.

As I have delusions of being cosmopolitan and continental, any day above 13 degrees means a desire to go al fresco. Yet, it comes with the risk of an excessively large, predatory bird ready to fight for some chips. No, I don’t mean your Mum – I mean the ridiculously aggressive seagulls that can spot something edible from 10 miles away. Trying to bat away a seagull requires superhuman strength, and if you were to match their aggression, you’d end up with a phone call from the Manx Wildlife Trust and a criminal record stating that you’ve committed a war crime against birdkind. 

Look, I have a dog. Like a seagull, he is very interested in everything you eat. But he very much knows that stealing is bad – is it possible to train seagulls to have some manners and boundaries? Ultimately, I would be happy to share a little bit of my entree if they would be polite about it. But stealing a wrap and trying to draw blood? Not on lads. 

To seagull’s defence, they are notoriously protective mothers. But just because you love your kids, doesn’t mean that you can be violent. And the fact is: sometimes I need to go within 10 metres of your chick. It doesn’t mean I want to steal it. What am I going to do with a seagull chick, realistically? Use your heads. 

There’s a lot of people who are for a cull of seagulls: despite them being a protected bird. I’m a pacifist: I don’t believe violence is the answer. Perhaps we implement some kind of ASBO on them. Maybe we learn to train birds to become non-violent citizens. I’m open to workshopping some ideas, please message me if you want to be part of a focus group on the matter.

I hate to leave on a negative note, because truly, it’s not all bad. For those long work hours, when the words aren’t flowing, I hear the encouraging caws of the flying longtails. Like my own, personal Attenborough documentary, I look out of the office window, and often see them shagging on a rooftop. It reminds me of the circle of life, and that there’s more to life than just work. Beautiful.

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