We can learn a lot from the seagulls
With reference to your article ‘Residents in a bit of a flap over gull invasion’ (KE, August 7), whilst understanding that they can sometimes be noisy and irritating I do find them an intelligent and utterly amazing bird with a complex social organisation within their community.
The RSPB say that they are coming inland because of problems with their traditional marine food supply which makes marine conservation areas a good idea if it can encourage them back to sea but I tend to feel that these endangered gulls are here to stay.
I worked once for a university lecturer who had published papers on the damage done by anti fouling paint (the paint used to cover the hulls of boats to stop them getting encrusted with barnacles) on the marine food supply chain and in particular causing deformity in whelks. Not surprising therefore that herring gulls have been disrupted by marine pollution.
Eating scraps of white bread that we would not give to dogs is hardly a better alternative and I do treat ours to sardines, making a tin last two days.
We have dedicated herring gulls now named Ken and Sweet. They come for a feed with the rest of the garden birds at 8am or earlier and then disappear (where they go to is a mystery) but they return with a deliberate plonk on the conservatory roof at 5pm for the evening feed.
They are evidently high in the pecking order as they keep all other gulls away from the garden and none are allowed to the land without their permission.
They also keep sparrow hawks away and set up an alarm cry if one is in the area gathering forces to fly in a circle to protect the other garden birds.
I have also seen a heron escorted out of the area with two herring gulls on its tail.
Once herring gulls get to know humans they will greet them with a bow touching their feet with their beak.
There is no doubt that they are watching us and adding a new meaning to the term bird watching.
Their eye contact is intense and there is a soul of sensitivity behind those eyes and like people groups, they develop and behave according to their circumstances badly or well.
We need to study and understand them more (if only they could speak!) and act to give them the best possible life. Wendy Nevard, St Nicholas Road, Littlestone, New Romney