Pensioner held hostage in house for four days because of terrifying seagulls
Heather Saul is a digital reporter for The Independent, currently working on the People desk. She has written news and features across a number of topics, paying particular attention to the activities of Isis and events in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Friday 09 August 2013
A pensioner became a prisoner in her own home for four days following a terrifying spate of seagull attacks.
Penny Freeman said that each time her or her brother attempted to leave their property in Bridlington, east Yorkshire, two birds would attack her.
The 69-year-old said they also pecked her windows with such force that Ms Freeman was worried they might break them, leaving her too frightened to even put her washing out.
“It was terrifying. I couldn’t leave the house and I felt like a prisoner. The birds were very threatening – they’re like lizards,” she said during an interview with The Sun.
The gulls had begun encircling her house after she left food out for garden birds. A pair eventually built a nest in her chimney, and this was when they began to behave aggressively.
The adult birds were protective of their young, Ms Freeman said, and caused "pandemonium" when one fell out of the nest. The male would perch on the roof of her property squawking and both birds would swoop down on them if she tried to leave the house.
The birds also vomited on the pair, a technique used by seagulls to ward off predatory animals.
Ms Freeman and her brother Jim were forced to wait four days for the young to learn how to fly so the family of seagulls would leave the nest.
Seagull attacks are becoming more common, particularly in coastal areas. Pensioner Dina Wilson also reported being attacked by the birds. The 71-year-old said she cannot leave her house in Herne Bay, Kent, without putting on what she describes as "protective head gear".
Speaking to Kent Online, Ms Wilson said: "I had to go around my garden with a colander on my head to get the washing off the line.
"I think a fox must have got the chick in the end as it couldn't fly and it was soon gone.
"We have got grandchildren and while an attack on an adult is bad, it's another thing with a child. It could be quite scary for them."
Local councils across the country are introducing measures to reduce the prevalence of seagull attacks. In Cardiff, plastic gull eggs are being offered to businesses in the hope of reducing the nuisance caused by the birds. By replacing real eggs with fake ones, the gulls have fewer chicks to protect and the council hopes it could reduce the number of attacks.
Royal Mail also refused to continue delivering post to a cul-de-sac in Cornwall earlier this year because seagulls kept attacking postmen and women.
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