Image for Thieves and thugs

Thieves and thugs

Duration: 03:38

These are 'gulls' not 'seagulls'. The reason for the distinction? Firstly, it isn't the gulls that live by the sea that people dislike so much, it's the ones that live inland that cause the problems. Secondly, there is no such thing as a 'seagull'. There are several different species of British gull, from the black-headed gull, to the black-backed and lesser black-backed gulls. And it's the herring gull that most people despise. They seem to be less partial to eating herring than almost anything else, from food on a landfill dump to your fish and chips. It doesn't give the gulls a very good image, and to top it off, city gulls will attack anyone that wanders into their breeding territory. In a normal situation, this would be fine as their breeding territory would ordinarily be a remote sea cliff. But when the nest is on a building in the middle of a city, it's a whol;e different story. Yet the main reason that they don't stick to the seaside is unfortunately down to us. There's less and less natural gull food in the sea, as fish and shell fish become fewer. In the city, however, there's an abundance of easy, if rather less natural, pickings. The gulls are simply trying to survive and raise chicks, so it makes sense for them to move to where the food is. People may hate gulls, but would the seaside be the same without the sound of gulls calling overhead?

Available since: Wed 19 May 2010


Bill Oddie

This clip is from

Bill Oddie's Top 10 Birds

Bill Oddie counts down the UK's ten most beloved and most villainous birds.

First broadcast: 11 Jun 2007

Image for Bill Oddie's Top 10 Birds Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss