Ocean City is having a huge problem with seagulls. I don't just mean a pesky, first world problem. I mean a problem so huge that the mayor has urged, downright begged people to stop feeding them. A problem so big he's seriously worried that people are going to start getting hurt. Like little children for example.

We're all used to aggressive seagulls at beaches and boardwalks where the birds swoop in and try to steal food in large swarms. In this shore town it has gotten particularly out of hand the last few years. More than even what we're all used to, these swarming seagulls have lost all fear of humans and see people only as a food source. Where there's a person, there is food. They are doing anything to get it. To the point that the town has considered netting over the boardwalk and asking food stands and restaurants to put up more canopies.

Now they're going so far as to hire a falconry-based bird abatement company. Raptors and in particular falcons are seen by seagulls as a threat and the hope is having falcons swoop over the beach and boardwalk every day from 10am to 10pm will eventually condition the seagulls to go elsewhere.

The type of gull at the Jersey shore is not an endangered species. If anything their numbers are generally growing larger. And if it's not an endangered species and they've become aggressive to humans, why aren't we doing what we do with deer and bear? When deer are causing traffic accidents and bears are causing property damage and the population is not under control, we have a hunt. Why is it that outrageous to thin the herd, or in this case flock, and start managing the seagull problem by killing some?

I'll tell you what people's outrage would be. It's a bird many people have enjoyed feeding. Which of course has caused a big part of the problem just like leaving bird feeders out in bear territory has. Since many people have enjoyed feeding seagulls, the anthropomorphism kicks in. The Disneyfication of animals. Also, the mere fact these are birds we see whenever we go to the beach we have that association. Let them hunt all the pheasants they want, because we don't associate those birds with our childhoods and our teenage romances at the Jersey shore.

But once children start showing up at emergency rooms with serious injuries inflicted by these aggressive seagulls it will be a different story. Why not get a jump on this now and control the seagull population in a real way? I don't care if it's a planned hunt. A method of poisoning. Whatever it takes. But kill some off and deal with the bad public relations for awhile.

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