Gulls are galling. In the past, we felt sorry for them, because they always sounded hungry and mournful.
Now we know they're nasty desperadoes who'd have the chips out of your hand in a trice. Attacking a man's chips really is beyond the pale.
In Belfast city centre, gulls have been swooping on innocent punters and even had a go at someone's mutt, as if it were a walking sausage. Black-backed gulls, in particular, are evil big beasties with massive wingspans. They can give you a really dirty look, too.
I've seen a black-backed gull with a baby rabbit in its beak. True, they're not as bad as great skuas, ugly brutes that can turn a puffin inside out. But they're bad guys just the same.
Belfast citizens have seen them tearing fledgling pigeons to bits. This is nature red in tooth and claw, and we don't want that sort of thing here. Typically, the birds' nests are protected by law, so we cannot form orderly mobs and march upon them with burning brands.
But it certainly behoves all citizens to carry brollies, particularly in the summer breeding season, and to use these to beat off the brutes when they next have a go at our chips.