Some people class herring gulls as ’vermin’, not least because they can be aggressive towards humans when they are protecting their young, and, as anyone trying to eat an ice-cream on Peel Promenade will testify, they will dive-bomb remorselessly in order to steal food. But because these super-intelligent birds are such efficient scavengers, eating pretty much anything, they help to keep our towns and beaches clean. You might think that herring gulls (Larus argentatus) are everywhere, and that there are too many of them. However, the species, when taken as a whole, is declining significantly across the UK with its population having decreased by 50 per cent in 25 years. In 2009, the RSPB placed the European herring gull on its ’Red List’ of threatened bird species, affording it the highest possible conservation status. The decline in fish stocks is the most likely reason for the decline in numbers and, in turn, this drives the gulls to seek new food sources which can bring them into conflict with humans.
Source: IOM Today, 17/06/17
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