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A British Man Is Living Out the Plot of ‘The Birds’

“I was simply not prepared for the serious impact that these creatures have upon me.”

A seagull attack.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

The human fear of birds is a primal one, as Alfred Hitchcock, Ingmar Bergman, Olivia Rodrigo, and now, a long-suffering resident of the British town of Bath, know all too well. The man, identified only as Gavin in a BBC article about the issue, has lodged a formal complaint against the seagulls plaguing his housing development, claiming the birds have made it “impossible to escape sleep deprivation.”

"I was simply not prepared for the serious impact that these creatures have upon me,” the embattled resident revealed last week in a statement to the Bath & North East Somerset Council. Gavin went on to explain that there are “often 10 or 12 adult gulls” on the roof of the building adjacent to his apartment. He added that his “health and wellbeing have suffered from lack of sleep, anxiety, and being unable to concentrate with windows open, even in the stifling heat of summer.”

The gulls have also been exhibiting increasingly aggressive behavior, Gavin claims. "I had a sandwich snatched from my hand, drawing blood; I have been hit on the head by a gull while walking; and I have witnessed a gull take ducklings from the canal."

This is only the latest battle in the ongoing war between the human and avian residents of Bath. Per an ITV report last year, there are nearly a thousand breeding pairs of gulls in the historic city, whose elaborate Georgian architecture provides the perfect perch for the birds to nest. “We’ve created big beaches in the skies for them,” Tony Whitehead, a spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds explained to SomersetLive. “They are attracted to urban areas because of really safe nesting places.”

Despite noise complaints and even attacks on humans, it remains difficult to legally kill the birds or destroy their nests, as all species of gull are protected under Britain’s Wildlife and Countryside Act. The city of Bath, however, has obtained special permissions to remove nests and eggs if they could show “that nonlethal methods had failed and that it was necessary for public protection.” Godspeed to Gavin, and prayers for a swift and nonviolent resolution.

Charu Sinha profile image

Charu Sinha

Charu Sinha is the audience editor at Heatmap. She was previously a news writer at Vulture, where she covered arts and culture. She has also written for Netflix, iHeartMedia, and NPR.


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