Less than 24 hours after we were reminded once again that asshole seagulls are the scourge of water-adjacent towns around the globe, a new study offers an answer to a long-simmering Takeout question: how do you get the damn things to leave you, and your food, alone?
The study, recently published in research journal Biology Letters, saw a U.K. research team test whether attempted human intimidation through eye contact would have any effect on the scavenger birds’ willingness to approach nearby food. To gauge this, researchers allowed asshole seagulls to approach, left out a bag of potato chips, and then “measured the approach times of herring gulls to a food source placed in close proximity to an experimenter who either looked directly at the gull or looked away.” If an asshole seagull did not approach or eat the food within five minutes, “the trial was deemed complete.”
About 36% of the tested asshole seagulls actively initiated a trial, and the experiment subsequently found that the asshole seagulls “took significantly longer to approach the food source when the experimenter looked at them versus away.” While some were bolder about human contact than others, the overall findings suggest that sustained eye contact (including head turns, as needed) was able to slow down or entirely deter the asshole seagulls from eating the chips. When researchers looked away, the tested birds were far more willing to approach and/or eat the food.
Well, there you have it, this time from scientists and not just a collection of journalists who really don’t like these birds. Want to get rid of an asshole seagull? Gaze deep into its eyes, and instill fear in its heart.