Cornwall

Truro pensioners' action call over seagull attacks

Herring gull
Image caption The gulls swoop as soon as neighbours leave or approach their houses

A man from Cornwall has described how he was left with blood pouring down his face when he was attacked by a seagull which swoops whenever he leaves home.

Some birds have built a nest on the roof of Gerry Myers' house in Mitchell Hill, Truro, and when he or neighbours leave their homes the gulls attack.

Seventy-nine-year-old Mr Myers and elderly neighbour Doug Bishop say they have both received scalp wounds.

The RSPB said the gulls were protecting their nest.

It said the problem should disappear when the gulls' chicks have flown.

Mr Myers told BBC News the attack had left him shaken and bleeding.

"It just swooped down and attacked me from behind and I didn't have anything to fight it off with.

"The blood was just pouring down my face and I couldn't see."

Mr Myers said he now only leaves home "dressed for battle" wearing a hat and carrying a stick to ward off the gulls.

The RSPB says it is possible to get a licence to deal with nuisance birds, if the circumstances are extreme.

'Bizarre' umbrella advice

"To take any control measures for adult birds, you have to apply for a special licence from Defra," RSPB spokesman Tony Whitehead said.

"So whilst they are protected you can, for certain reasons such as health and safety, apply for a licence."

Mr Whitehead said the aggressive behaviour of the herring gulls in Mitchell Hill was atypical of adults protecting their young.

"It's no consolation to the poor chaps who've been attacked and we really do commiserate with that, because it's not a pleasant thing to happen," he said.

"But what you've got is a bird on the nest that's protecting its territory."

The best, if "slightly bizarre" advice, is to carry an open umbrella when going in or out of your home, Mr Whitehead added.

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