Hungry seagulls are just like us — they have a favourite chippy they flock to.
Scientists say the sneaky winged pests remember where they last scoffed decent fish and chips and fly back from dozens of miles away.
Researchers at the British Trust for Ornithology used GPS to tag herring gulls and discovered some travel up to 100 miles to a specific chip shop.
Study author Dr Nina O’Hanlon said: “We downloaded data from at least five individuals (herring gulls) at the chip shop. Some were making repeated visits.”
Colony Researchers tagged the gulls from Lady Isle and Pladda in the Firth of Clyde and Oronsay and Islay in the Inner Hebrides.
The study, published in the journal Frontiers In Marine Science, also followed one colony in Walney off Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria.
The data revealed that several of the gulls from Scotland visited the Wee Hurrie chippy in Troon, Ayrshire. And one tagged on Lady Isle in the Clyde even went as far as Ayr Racecourse.
Despite their reputation for causing nuisance and havoc, the number of herring gulls has been in steep decline.
The researchers wrote: “Providing effective protection during the non-breeding period could benefit populations. For example, through reducing human disturbance.”
Herring gulls have a wide range of habitats, including grassland and farmland as well as urban areas, to cater for their love of a late-night takeaway.
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The news comes after thousands of birds descended on a carpark like a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock's horror The Birds.
The inky-black birds were seen covering the tarmac, cars, shopping trolleys and flitting through the skies in Houston, Texas, US, in a way witnesses described as “terrifying”.
The army of birds – believed to be great-tailed grackles – can be heard calling to one another in high-pitched whistles and tweets as they rest on the ground.
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