Gour­mand gulls Chan­nel hop for chips

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Katie French

BRI­TONS are used to seag­ulls steal­ing their chips at the sea­side – but it seems that’s not enough for the greedy birds who are now Chan­nel-hop­ping to get their beaks on some frites.

This is the view of one BBC ex­pert who be­lieves gulls are no longer sat­is­fied with the vol­ume ume of food waste te in Bri­tain so are com­mut­ing ting abroad in­stead. ead.

“Birds Birds are mov­ing fur­ther her afield to seek the food d waste they are no long­ing find­ing so read­ily avail­able in the land­fill sites in the UK,” ” Tim Dee, a wildlife ex­pert, ert, told BBC Ra­dio 4.

“French French food waste re­cy­cling ing is not so so­phis­ti­cated ed so birds are leav­ing Bri­tain to eat French chips.”

Speak­ing to The Sun­day Tele­graph, Mr Dee said: “Food for the birds in the UK is now mea­gre. Pop­u­la­tions boomed dur­ing the throw­away decades of the Six­ties and Seven­ties but along the coast, fish pro­cess­ing has all but fin­ished and ended a source of gull food. Re­cy­cling or in­cin­er­a­tion of food waste is now com­mon­place, and ed­i­ble trash in land­fills in the UK is rare.” This was not the case in France, he said, where ed­i­ble food waste re­mained a treat for gulls.

Yet de­spite trips for the odd frite, Mr Dee said he did not ex­pect Bri­tain to see a mass ex­o­dus of seag­ulls. On the con­trary, he said pop­u­la­tions of “ur­ban gulls” we were on the rise.

There are now an esties mated 100,000 pairs of breed­ing ur­ban gulls in UK U towns and cities. But th the un­pop­u­lar birds are a usu­ally in the th press for f all the th wrong rea­sons – fro from killing a chi­huahua chi­huahu in 2015 to at­tac at­tack­ing peo­ple in the th street.

Mr Dee De ap­pealed for the pub­lic publ to be kinder to the bird birds, de­scrib­ing them as “en “end­lessly fas­ci­nat­ing”. He said: “Gulls have adapted to spend all their time in Bri­tain now. They used to mi­grate in the win­ter but that is no longer the case. They’ve come ashore and have found a way to make a liv­ing like us. They are not pop­u­lar be­cause they are noisy and strong and ba­si­cally do­ing all the things we think are re­served for us, eat­ing chips in cities and get­ting on with one an­other the best they can.”

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