Pictured - The seagulls can be seen dive bombing and flocking towards Alex's camera. See Ross Parry copy RPYSEAGULLS. A plucky photographer has captured the terror of a SEAGULL attack after they swooped on his camera. Brave Alex Newsome, 24, headed to the seaside to get a glimpse of being surrounded by flocks of the food-snatching birds. The images show a birds-eye view of the seagulls as they swoop down and attack the camera with spread wings and open beaks. The snaps of the birds that have long plagued holiday makers and beachgoers, were taken in Whitby, North Yorks.

(P1) A French seaside resort is testing an “anti-SEAGULL” drone to keep the increasingly AGGRESSIVE birds AT BAY.

(P2) Trouville-sur-Mer in Normandy, northern France, claims to be the first town to test a special drone that can spot seagull nests and spray them with STERILISER, as its DEPUTY mayor warned that the birds could soon “MAKE OFF WITH a baby”.

(P3) “They are PROFOUNDLY changing their living habits from eating fish and building nests on cliffs to living in towns and becoming CARNIVOROUS as it is much easier to find food,” said Pascale Cordier, Trouville’s deputy mayor in charge of environment.

(P4) She said a woman had recently suffered a BRUTAL gull attack when she UNWITTINGLY approached a chick on a pavement, and was violently PECKED in the calves.

(P5) “They are no longer scared of man at all, and I’m worried that one of these days they’ll make off with a baby,” she said.

(P6) Local fishermen say the gulls regularly DIVE BOMB them on their TRAWLERS,but they can do nothing as the gulls have been a protected species since 2009.

(P7) Instead of CULLING the birds, the town has used climbers to scale buildings and spray eggs with a mixture of formalin and paraffin to EUTHANISE the chicks and keep the TEEMING population IN CHECK.

(P8) However, last year, a council climber was seriously injured after falling off a particularly PRECARIOUS perch.

(P9) A robotic expert at the College de France, the country’s most ILLUSTRIOUS university, suggested that Trouville DEVISE a drone to spot seagull nests perched on roofs and buildings. They then SWOOP over them to spray the eggs with steriliser.

(P10) Built by Civic Drone, a company in the Paris area, the device is also protected by a BUFFER to FEND OFF gull attacks and to keep the birds from being sliced by its sharp blades.

(P11) “This job takes a lot of time if you do it by hand and the risks of accidents very are high, whereas here it takes two minutes to sterilise the eggs,” Fabien Lanzini of Civic Drone said.

(P12) However, the new anti-seagull technique has hit a SNAG.

(P13) France’s League for the Protection of Birds has filed a complaint with French aviation authorities, which has ordered the town to stop using the drone for now.

(P14) “A meeting is due in September to get authorisation and I’m convinced this will be a solution going forward,” said Ms Cordier.

(P15) France’s problem with “goëlands”, a term to describe larger gulls, still pales into comparison to recent attacks in Britain.

(P16) Last month, David Cameron called for a “big conversation” on the issue after gulls killed a Yorkshire Terrier in Newquay, a Chihuahua puppy in Devon and a pet tortoise in Cornwall called Stig.

(P17) Mr Cameron told BBC Radio Cornwall: “It is a dangerous one for the prime minister to dive in and come up with an instant answer with the issues of the protection of seagulls, whether there is a need for a cull, what should be done about eggs and nests.

(P18) “I think a big conversation needs to happen about this.”

(P19) Cornwall PENSIONER Sue Atkinson was left BATTERED and bloodied after a seagull attack yards from a primary school. She said: “It was like a scene from the film The Birds.”

(P20) British Members of PARLIAMENT recently called for a change in the law to allow the protected status of seagulls to be AXED so that their population in urban areas could be better controlled.

WORDS: 576



If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. Have you ever had a dangerous encounter with a wild animal?
  3. Why do seagulls like places with lots of people?
  4. What do you think is the best way of controlling NUISANCE animals like seagulls, geese, and deer?
  5. Have you ever seen Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film The Birds, mentioned in the article, or other films in which animals attack people?


What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.

  • Dive bomb
  • Keep in check
  • Fend off

Cambly Practice Button


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