So seagulls are the most loathed birds in the Uk according to a survey of 1200 people. Seems 95% of those questioned – on behalf of Gone Crabbing, a Norfolk-based clothing company – said they detested them and some called them the ‘thugs’ of the bird world.
The gulls are blamed for snatching food from seaside promenades, covering cars in their waste and bullying smaller birds. Though it does seem they are appreciated by a small fan group. One in 20 – that’s five per cent – said they liked the birds because of their link with the coast.
Perhaps there are some in Bath who hear a gull’s cry and think of the sea. Imagining a stroll along a sun-lit seaside prom in high summer has got to be better than dodging rain puddles and mud in our wet and traffic-choked city – even if your rapidly melting 99 could be snatched at any moment.
The survey went further in showing just how distanced we are from the natural world around us. Despite the fact many in Bath would rather view gulls through a gun sight – they do share the same space with us.
We cannot go to see them somewhere else. The only wildlife we take any notice of is usually in some sort of zoo or neatly animated and humanised by Walt Disney.
On the hate list after gulls were pigeons because they are noisy and messy and magpies because they are thieves. Ravens, rooks and crows came next because they looked eerie and reminded people of horror films. Damn you Alfred Hitchcock!
Pheasants were disliked because they caused ‘incidents on roads’ – yeh and its usually the pheasant that gets the worst of it.
Gulls and pigeons choose to live with us because they have more sense and awareness than we do. We eat on the move and scatter the remains everywhere. Half eaten pizza and other debris sits in thin black plastic bags on student doorsteps for days. Again avian opportunists have benefitted from that. Calling someone a ‘bird-brain’ might soon be regarded as a compliment.
Imagine the sky without gulls soaring on thermals and birds of prey being more accurate with their prey ‘bombing’ than any Tornado jet.
Give me the chatter of a sparrow or the sound of a cuckoo over any car hi-fi volume out of control in a London Road traffic jam – where you cannot escape the noise.
Take notice of nature. It’s all around you. You don’t go and visit it – you appreciate and care for it and make room for other living things. It will be a silent place without the rest of the inmates of this living world.
At the rate we are destroying what is left of the natural habitat and poisoning the countryside – we won’t have long to wait.