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Dublin: 7 °C Friday 22 November, 2019
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New feature on TheJournal.ie will help combat scourge of seagulls

We need your help, though.

SeeMyGull 2 Source: Shutterstock

THEJOURNAL.IE IS JOINING the fight against nuisance seagulls.

New figures from the Department of Environment show that seagulls:

  • PECK four ankles a day in Irish parks
  • Steal chips from helpless CHILDREN
  • Cause HAVOC by swooping on unsuspecting tourists
  • Are routinely seen FORAGING in bins

In a pioneering partnership with the Fund For Urban Protection Of Flighted and Feathered (FFUPOFF) and the Department of the Environment, this website will on Monday launch a new function called SeeMyGull.

The innovative technology will allow readers to plan their routes around Irish cities and towns so that they can avoid aggressive seagulls, using patented technology and Google’s mapping API.

Our technology will rely on you, the reader, to alert us to the presence and aggression of seagulls, who in recent years have made parts of Dublin virtually impossible to enjoy food in.

From Monday, these reports will be logged on a microsite: seemygull.thejournal.ie, which will show live updates of where seagulls are and what they’re doing.

Seagull Test 1 (1)

“This is another part of our push to be the most useful app on your phone,” says TheJournal.ie‘s editor Susan Daly.

“Only the very lucky among us hasn’t had an al fresco lunch ruined by swooping seagulls. If this saves even one ciabatta, it will be worth the outlay.”

Riggan Thompson of FFUPOFF says that this is not a divisive move. Rather, he claims, the move will bring the avian and human communities together.

“This is not about targeting seagulls – it’s about respecting their right to the city as well.

“In our research, we’ve discovered that seagulls lack the part of the brain called Grayson’s Cage. This completely destroys their impulse control. So, in a way, being angry at them for wanting your chips is a form of victim blaming.”

Sea-scale

shutterstock_608616290 Source: Shutterstock/Philippe PATERNOLLI

As part of the site, users will be asked to give a ranking to the activities of seagulls in their area.

These are:

1 - Some gull activity, but no reported attacks.

2 - Gulls looking menacing, eyeballing chips, mocking children

3 - Gulls on the ground, eating scraps

4 - Seagulls swooping, flying low, pedestrians forced to duck

5 - Full scale gull attack, food stolen, increasingly emboldened gulls ignore pleas to shoo

Pictures can be added to reports to give others the sense of the problem.

In beta testing, Catherine McGrath sent us this Level One report:

IMAG3148 Source: Catherine McGrath

“Seagull on the rock at Stephen’s Green. Hasn’t started any trouble, but I’ll keep an eye out.”

Kevin McBride sent this Level Three report from Skerries.

IMG-20170327-WA0000 (1) Source: Kevin McBride

“Family lunch interrupted by this lone seagull. Robbed bread from a plate and took at least three chips from my niece. We didn’t stay around to see if it got worse. Restaurant completely unapologetic despite claiming they had anti-gull technology.”

From there, individual gulls will have profiles that track their aggressiveness, their favourite foods and preferred areas to fly above.

Deterrents

Some politicians have suggested numerous methods to keep the brash birds at bay, but Thompson says the answer is education and community.

“We have to respect the right of birds to have part of our city for part of the day without being interfered with.

“If we know where they are, we can avoid antagonising them, they can avoid antagonising us. And, in the end, isn’t that what we all want?”

TheJournal.ie app will automatically update on Monday to include SeeMyGull and users can opt to receive notifications about activity in their area.

The development is made possible by generous Department of Environment funding.

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