OCEAN CITY, Md. (CNET/WJZ) — It’s like a scene from a Alfred Hitchcock movie. You’re sitting down on the beach in Ocean City, Maryland about to dive into a bucket of Thrasher’s Fries, when you hear a flock of seagulls swirling above you — cawing — waiting to attack and snatch a fry out of your fingers.
Worse — if it’s your kids holding that juice or sandwich — those seagulls thinking, an easy target.
Well, a new study suggests you can battle the seagulls with your eyes.
Researchers at the University of Exeter in the UK looked into whether staring at seagulls might make them not want to take your food. The study showed that on average it took 21 seconds longer for seagulls to go up to the food with humans staring at them.
“Gulls are often seen as aggressive and willing to take food from humans, so it was interesting to find that most wouldn’t even come near during our tests,” said Madeleine Goumas, lead author of the study Herring gulls respond to human gaze direction, published in the journal Biology Letters.