Belfast Telegraph

Just a city gull at heart... winging it over streets of Belfast

By Linda Stewart

The terror of the skies - or one of our most elegant neighbours?

These images provide a fascinating insight into the private life of the herring gull, the lofty flier that has deserted its seacliffs for the high rise buildings and rich food pickings of our cities.

According to photographer Mark Marlow, who put together this intriguing photoessay on one of our closest neighbours, many generations of herring gull may never have been to sea at all.

The sea birds divide opinion and can often be quite terrifying, particularly in nesting season when they may divebomb anyone they deem to be a threat.

Last summer, gulls and crows were responsible for a spate of littering along Northern Ireland's north coast, ripping through open bins and scattering the debris as they hunted for food.

In the Republic, Fianna Fail senator Ned O'Sullivan called for government action against gulls that were attacking young children in Dublin city centre, saying they had lost the run of themselves. And the Belfast Telegraph revealed a shocking twist in herring gull behaviour, as people reported seeing the birds attacking and devouring feral pigeons, particularly around the Dublin Road area of Belfast.

According to the RSPB, herring gulls are particularly adaptable, quick-thinking and bold and our towns have become the perfect new home, thanks to our tendency to leave rich food sources lying around in the form of litter.

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