Staring at seagulls can stop them from taking your food, study says

When it comes to slowing down those flying food thieves known as seagulls, you might not need a bird of prey after all.

New research suggests the answer could be as simple as eye contact.

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Ocean City using birds of prey to scare off aggressive seagulls. Trish Hartman reports during Action News at 5 p.m. on August 5, 2019.

Scientists at the University of Exeter in England wanted to know if the birds would be slower to snatch food if they knew a human was watching them. So, they put a bag of chips on the ground and waited.

They discovered, on average, it took seagulls 21 seconds longer to swoop in if a person was staring them down.

Another observation? Only 27 of the 74 birds they watched even came near the food.

In turn, they say a small, and aggressive, minority of the seagull population might be giving the rest a bad name.
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