City gulls are now 'CANNIBALS' and eat baby pigeons in one gulp
- Credit: Maya Derrick
Giant gulls soaring the skies of the Norwich are increasingly feasting on other birds and their young, a wildlife expert has revealed.
The burgeoning population of the birds of prey means the scrappy gulls are now not only ransacking bins for leftovers but are also attacking other wildlife.
Kevin Murphy, founder of Norfolk Wildlife Rescue, said the alarming gull behaviour has arisen because the birds have moved inland, settling away from the coast where they have evolved to have no inhibitions.
"Gulls can be cannibals. They're predatory," he said.
"I've been called out when people have stopped gulls that have half a pigeon or another bird in its beak."
Indeed the birds have been spotted gobbling down pigeon chicks in one gulp.
"They want their food gone quickly before another gull can snatch it," Kevin explained.
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"Gulls target pigeons and will go after any easy prey.
"They'll eat anything. They take any opportunity and that's why they're so successful."
This week a gull was captured feasting on an alive pigeon outside City Hall.
"You need long-term studies to find out if they're turning more predatory. But I'm increasingly getting calls of other wildlife being attacked by gulls.
"You're never going to change their behaviour now.
"People are noticing it more now since the pandemic and are calling incidents in more now they know who to call," Kevin, who has been running the organisation for 25 years, added.
He continued that the fearless creatures won't let anyone - or anything - get in the way of dinner: "They will hunt but they'll scavenge as well."
He added that contrary to popular belief the gulls in the Norwich area are not growing in size and are no larger than other flocks across the region.
"It's a bit of an urban myth.
"They've not evolved drastically - their size is in their DNA from a long time ago.
"What's changing is the public's perception due to how they've scared them.
"They're not necessarily getting bigger but because the birds have no fear, people are seeing them up close more," he said.