Bringing back memories of a scary seagull attack

LAWRENCE MURPHY: A worthy alternative to roasties?

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With brighter days and warmer weather, many of us will be spending more of our leisure time in the great outdoors.

Whilst I was out and about strolling around Canoe Lake in Southsea recently, I happened to notice there were several folks feeding bread to the swans and other birds, despite signs put up asking them not to.

It was quite a scary moment and I have never sat in the open on the seafront with food since that day

They are there for a reason and that is because bread is bad for waterfowl and our other feathered friends.

It actually has very little nutritious value and is about as unhealthy as feeding them crackers, popcorn and chips.

More worryingly, it can stunt a duckling’s growth. Also, any bread that’s not eaten is liable to grow mould, attract nasty vermin such as rats and mice and pollute the water.

As omnivorous birds, waterfowl, ie ducks, should eat oats, peas, earthworms and special duck feed pellets.

Swans and geese and even seagulls can be very vicious and greedy when it comes to grub, as I was reminded on one occasion a while back.

I was sat on the seafront, quietly scoffing a bag of chips when I accidentally dropped one on the ground.

Seconds later, a flock of squawking seagulls surrounded me, ruthlessly pecking at my hands until I dropped my lunch in fright.

Then they started a fight with each other. It was quite a scary moment and I have never sat in the open on the seafront with food since that day.

Another thing I’d like to mention if you’re in an area where wildlife roams and you have a canine friend is to keep it on a lead.

And don’t let children chase or disturb birds, especially the younger ones that could become stressed or injured. If that happens, you could find yourself under attack from their irate mother.

Wild ponies are another cause for concern, particularly at this time of year when there are foals in the New Forest.

It is delightful to see them, but please admire them from a distance. Never think about sharing your picnic with them and drive carefully in areas where they might roam. So many are killed every year by thoughtless drivers going too fast.