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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Don’t blame the gulls – would you like to be disturbed while mating?

‘Suspense and shock beyond anything you have seen or imagined!’ No, not another England penalty shoot-out.

This was a tagline used to promote Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds when the thriller was released in 1963.

People in the Kingstown area of Carlisle could be forgiven for thinking they are starring in a sequel.

You know it’s spring when the first cuckoo calls.

And you know it’s summer when the first person on Kingstown is attacked by seagulls.

Ian Lawson of Ian Lawson Kitchens said: “The seagulls dive-bomb people getting in or out of their car.

“One of my lads got covered in droppings while working outside, and this is happening every year.”

As far as Reiver recalls, the human stars of The Birds were not screaming through fear of being splattered – although such a reaction would have been entirely understandable.

But Cumbria in 2012 does have something in common with 1960s California. The baddies in The Birds were also seagulls.

These creatures swooped to attack with increasing frequency and ferocity.

And as the film progressed the gulls were joined by feathered friends including sparrows and crows.

If the people of Kingstown think they have problems now, just wait until thousands of birds are gathered on the ground, silently watching them.

The bird attacks in the film were unexplained. At least in Carlisle there are theories about their behaviour.

A city council spokeswoman said: “Summer is the mating and nesting period for gulls and during this time the gulls can become territorial.”

So it seems the birds just want a bit of privacy during mating season.

If their behaviour seems rather aggressive, ask yourself how you’d react if people started driving through your bedroom at a sensitive time.

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