We've all been there, walking up a promenade on a hot summer day and enjoying an ice cream or some fish and chips, believing nothing could ruin the moment.

Then comes a winged pasty menace and ruins all the fun. A seagull.

Seagulls are natural-born foragers and a right royal pain in the backside for anyone wishing to enjoy the seaside.

A gull will snatch food from a hand, especially if held aloft and out of direct human eyeline. 

As families make the most of the May bank holiday weekend, the British Pest Control Association (BPCA) has urged caution during gull nesting season, which particularly heightens in April and May.

Seagulls have also been known to attack humans when they get too close to their nests. They are incredibly protective creatures, especially during bird nesting season, and anyone who gets too close can expect a rather violent retaliation and possible injuries.

Can you hit a seagull?


Like all other wild birds, gulls are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, making it an offence to intentionally injure or kill any gull, or to take, damage or destroy an active nest or its contents.

You are strongly advised not to feed seagulls as this will not only increase the seagull population but will also cause unnecessary annoyance to neighbours. 

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When gulls are fed regularly it creates an artificially high population and encourages further breeding pairs to take up residence in the area.

People who cause nuisance by persistently feeding gulls at home could face a Community Protection Notice from certain local councils. This may attract a fixed penalty if not complied with.

What should I do instead if I'm attacked?

Lift your arms to protect your head if a seagull begins swooping at you. Keep your arms above your head, but don't wave them around.

Move away from the area until the gull stops attacking you. Waving your arms around to try and fend off the seagull may just aggravate it more and make the attack worse.