French coastal towns take action to fight against seagull noise and “theft”
A seagull rummaged in a young woman’s purse and flew off with her haute couture wallet while her victim was having lunch with a friend.
The unusual aerial crime took place in the gardens of the Trocadero in Monaco. The schoolgirl said she and her friend were more concerned with their sandwiches than their bags, which were on the floor between them.
She watched in disbelief as the seagull flew to a nearby rooftop and put her wallet there. When Monaco firefighters came to the girl’s rescue and climbed on the roof to retrieve her wallet, they found a collection of valuables in the gull nest.
While the schoolgirl got to see the funny side, this is just the latest in a series of similar stories. Seagulls have become a threat in the coastal regions of France. In Toulon, in the Var, noisy and aggressive seagulls have sparked complaints from residents and forced local authorities to take action.
The prefect authorized the municipality to sterilize eggs in gull nests but too late to do anything this year. The operation, carried out by specialists under the supervision of the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) will begin with around thirty nests next year, to reach around fifty by 2023.
A similar operation took place in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, in Manche, at the start of the year. The eggs are coated with vegetable oil, which prevents the embryo from developing, and left in the nest. Because the eggs are not broken, the birds try to hatch them, rather than trying to lay new ones.
Meanwhile, drones are being used to monitor the number of gulls in Lorient, Morbihan – where a man was attacked by birds in December 2020, and now refuses to leave his home without a helmet.
But this method of monitoring and sterilization is not without risks. Birds will attack drones that fly too close to their nests.
During the first confinement in France, many people noticed that animals were returning to claim areas usually dominated by humans. A photographer from Nice took these pictures of a seagull nesting on the beach near the Promenade des Anglais – which would normally have been packed with people.
– Valery HACHE (@ValeryHache) April 27, 2020