Anna Maria Island Seagulls – Don’t Feed Us

Anna Maria Island Seagulls are so cute and friendly, but don’t feed them! While it may seem fun, feeding gulls is harmful to both people and birds.

Don’t Feed Anna Maria Island Seagulls

Just about everyone is guilty of feeding birds. However, few know the real impact of the action. When you are sitting on the beach relaxing, and a gull stops by, it’s easy to toss a piece of snack at them. They will beg you. They will stand on the sand and look you straight in the face, but don’t give in!

Feeding Gulls makes them ill.

Naturally gulls forage, hunt and scavenge for food. They have a diverse diet consisting of fish, mollusks, insects, reptiles, rodents and just about anything meaty they can get their beak on. Typically when people feed gulls, they offer up human food like french fries and potato chips. These types of food aren’t even good for humans, so you can be sure they are harmful to sea birds. Without proper nutrition, Gulls can become sick and weak. A people diet can actually kill these feathered friends.

Anna Maria Island Seagulls.
Don’t feed Anna Maria Island Seagulls.

Feeding Gulls changes their natural instinct.

Gulls play an important part in their environment by cleaning up bits of detritus from beaches. They won’t do their job if they are given handouts of people food.

Instinctively birds tend to be afraid of humans, but become too friendly when hand fed. Not only do they loose their fear of humans, but they become aggressive toward us. Gulls will dive bomb people and steal food right out of their hand. This is a direct consequence of human interaction. There is nothing worse than a family trip to the beach spoiled by a gull nabbing the ice cream out of a kids hand.

In some instances these birds become extremely aggressive causing people to throw rocks and objects at the birds to scare them away. Obviously this is animal abuse, and could have been avoided completely. Birds that are not scared of people also run a higher risk of being injured by cars, fishing gear, boats and other human made obstacles.

Birds fed human food have a tougher time differentiating between real food and objects. Subsequently, gulls will try to eat plastics, garbage and other non-food items.

Anna Maria Island Seagulls
They might be cute, but feeding Seagulls is harmful to their health.

Feeding Seagulls has a negative impact on ALL species of birds.

When birds become accustomed to hand feeding they will congregate in larger groups than they naturally would do. This has an impact on increasing the spread of bird diseases. Populations of all birds are vulnerable to disease. Avian Pox is spread by an increase in birds having direct physical contact, especially when competing for food.

Additionally, these inflated groups of Gulls can have a harmful impact on all nesting shorebirds. Gulls prey on eggs and baby birds. It’s natural for a few eggs and baby birds to fall prey to a Seagull. However, these large swarms of gulls, attracted by people, can take out entire nesting colonies of birds such as Terns, Plovers and Skimmmers. A large group of Seagulls can also take out an entire nest of hatchling Sea Turtles making their way to the water’s edge.

Anna Maria Island Seagulls
Never chase groups of birds on the beach. It causes them great stress especially during nesting season.

What to do if you get swarmed?

If you encounter a swarm of aggressive gulls, first, hide all food. Seagulls even know what a potato chip bag looks like! Get all food out of sight. Any food that falls on the ground needs to be picked up or buried under sand. Once all food is away, stand up and slowly start walking towards the birds in an attempt to disburse them. Chasing birds stresses them out, so move slowly and confidently. Do not wave your hands around as they may think you are offering them food. Once the gulls move on you can bring your food back out.

Anna Maria Island Seagulls.
Feeding Seagulls makes them aggressive.

Feeding Gulls – It’s just plain rude!

While feeding Seagulls is not illegal in the state of Florida, it is extremely rude. Gull feeding frenzies are disruptive to beach goers and is inconsiderate to both humans and birds.

On your next trip to the beach, don’t feed Anna Maria Island Seagulls! Don’t just take our word! Read what the University of Florida has to say about feeding wildlife!

Anna Maria Island Seagulls
People who feed Seagulls are RUDE!

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