I was introduced to sea gulls when I first visited Australia. Having never seen or heard about these birds before, I thought these were calm birds (what a defying white colour) which are seen in groups near beaches.
But with time, my perception about these birds has gone from fright to complete frustration and hatred.
In Australia, the variety called Silver Gull is found. It is a medium-sized bird with white head, body and tail and light grey wings. A close look at the bird draws attention to its sharp beak and the fact that it can ordinarily be seen near fast food places or streets where people have their lunch sitting on the benches. An even closer look would make you nervous as you would see the birds trying to snatch food from these people and the scared/annoyed ones leaving the place.
My first ever encounter with the gull was at Darling Harbour. My friend and I bought us burgers and she threw off what was left of her plate before I could finish eating. In a wink’s time, I saw myself surrounded by a big colony of gulls and the birds were actually trying to snatch my food by scaring me with their harsh cries. I tried to keep my calm and somehow managed to finish off my burger before disaster could strike.
My second encounter was an even closer one. I was walking around Circular Quay one afternoon post lunch and there was this gull that was fluttering her wings at the back of my neck as I was unknowingly walking on her path of flight. Everyone around got surprised and I was quite shocked momentarily because I had read about seagulls knocking at people’s skulls when angry. I spelt a small prayer and moved on silently.
There have been a few times when I have also faced the misfortune of being a victim to the bird’s droppings.
Time and again I see the gulls annoying people at the waterfront. Just a couple of days ago I saw this colony of gulls flying really close to a group of school kids that had bought lunch and were walking casually near the harbour, taking in the views. All of a sudden, their faces went pale after the gulls frightened them with their bullying cries and tried to snatch their food.
I know there are several forums and courts to punish people who create public nuisance, but who would take these bad, ravenous gulls to task?