Many moons ago I was absent-mindedly walking through the dead centre of Dundee, the Howff.
All seemed well as I prepared to enjoy a well-earned lunchtime suasage roll.
That was until said meat treat was cruelly wrested from my grasp by a swooping gull.
Said flying assasin came from behind, clipping my head with its wing for good measure as it stole my precious snack.
After a moment of bewilderment, I turned my head skyward and angrily waved my fist at my airborne nemesis. There may even have been a few choice words.
But within 10 seconds I found myself in fits of laughter at my own futile response to my avian attacker.
I hadn’t lost anything of significance (except my dignity) and I wasn’t hurt.
I had simply been bested by nature and that’s just how it goes sometimes.
So why am I recanting this tale now?
Because last week I witnessed two similar incidents involving gulls in Dundee city centre.
The first, again, involved a gull looking for an easy meal.
It swooped down on a young woman and attempted to steal the sandwich she had in her hand.
Her squeal of shock was enough to send her assailant flying. Literally.
The second incident involved a mum and her two young kids.
On this occasion there was no obvious foodie prize on offer for the gull.
While physically unhurt, both youngsters were left screaming and in tears by their ordeal at the beak of a not-so-friendly feathered friend.
In the grand scheme of things, each such incident may seem of little importance.
But they feed in to a wider narrative.
It has been recognised for years that Dundee has a problem with its gull populations, particularly in the city centre.
There is no shortage of sheltered spots on roof tops for the gulls to make a nest and, with abundant food waste left littering our streets, it can make for an easy life for the winged warriors.
So, what to do?
Dundee City Council have pest control teams who are well versed in dealing with gulls where their presence in a community becomes problematic.
But a mass culling is not for me. Too gruesome; too blunt-instrument for my liking and against the law in any case.
Instead, it might be we wise to gull-proof our properties where possible and modify our behaviour to ensure it does not encourage aggressive acts from above.
Disposing takeaway food waste properly in the bin is a starter for ten.
By everyone making city life a little less comfortable for our gull chums, then hopefully the problem will simply fly away.
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