Gulls vs. Humans

An article on the ESPN website today reports that the San Francisco Giants and their fans have been dealing with gull invasions since the new bayside park opened in 2000.  The intelligent, omnivorous, opportunistic gulls, long drawn to handouts at our garbage dumps, learned that fans leave a great deal of food in the stands; initially arriving during the post-game cleanup, they have begun to appear earlier, anticipating the feast and disrupting the ball game.

Per the article, a resident red-tailed hawk kept the gulls at bay in the past but that raptor has since moved on or died.  Current suggestions to control the unwelcome flocks include hiring a falconer and his/her predator for home games (a costly solution) or placing fake hawks and owls on the stadium roofs (a solution unlikely to fool the intelligent gulls).  Of course, a domed stadium has also been suggested.

What struck me about the article is that blame has been placed on the avian invaders, not on those who entice them with their garbage.  Americans waste more food than many small countries consume and our propensity for littering the environment extends well beyond our ball parks.  More waste containers and more responsible fans may be the best solution.