Myth Blaster: Case of the Shoplifting Seagull


This Myth Blaster is brought about by an e-mail sent to Kritter Girl who received it from Diane S., Wisconsin and who received if from ?
The story goes …

A seagull in Scotland has developed the habit of stealing chips from a neighborhood shop. The seagull waits until the shopkeeper isn’t looking, and then walks into the store and grabs a snack-size bag of cheese Doritos® Once outside, the bag gets ripped open and shared by other birds. The seagull’s shoplifting started early this month when he first swooped into the store in Aberdeen, Scotland and helped himself to a bag of chips. Since them, he’s become a regular. He always takes the same type of chips. Customers have begun paying for the seagull’s stolen bags of chips because they think it’s so funny.

What a unique advertisement for this store!

The video can be seen at YouTube in its entirety, the e-mail sent to Kritter Girl and Diane S., was just a segment of that video transcribed from a news broadcast. A segment of the film can also be found at – The Bosun’s Locker. I believe the person who originated the e-mail obtained the story from the Bosun‘s website, but there was no source given. The words are the same in his article as written in the e-mail form unknown source. However, the original news release and video is attributed to FOX News – some versions complete with Mission Impossible theme song in the background. 
Myth Blaster Verdict: Obviously, TRUE. Although the mention of the seagull’s readily sharing the prize of a bag of chips with “other birds” doesn’t fall in line with the character of a seagull. I know because when I catch the invasive species of fish, the Goby (also spelled Gobie), in Lake Michigan and the bays surrounding Door Peninsula, I feed them to the seagulls – the Wisconsin DNR states that they would prefer that they are not put back in the lake because of their over breeding capacity.[i] But I digress. …
Urban Legends provides some background information in more detail …

Seagulls are regarded as nuisances by many people (especially in urban coastal areas) not only because of their tendency to drop large globs of avian doo-doo on unsuspecting pedestrians, but also because they are aggressive, opportunistic scavengers. These birds are not just resourceful, they are also patient: Once a seagull has identified a potential food source, it may stand still with its eyes locked on the prize, waiting as long as necessary for just the right opening to dash in, snatch some edibles, and escape safely – much to the consternation of many an outdoor diner.
In July 2007, a seagull in
Aberdeen, Scotland, made the news for a rather unusual manifestation of sneaky scavenging behavior. The bird, named “Sam” by the locals, developed the habit (as shown above) of strolling through an open door into the RS McColl newsagents shop there, snatching bags of cheese-flavored Doritos from a rack just inside the entryway, and dashing away. According to store personnel, Sam always birdlifted the same flavor of Doritos (perhaps due to the color of the packaging), carrying the bags outside the store, where he ripped them open and (along with other birds) devoured their contents. …
A spokesman for Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) also noted of Sam:
“I’ve never heard of anything like this before. Perhaps it tried some crisps in a shiny packet in the street, and was just opportunistic one day at the shop when it saw what was inside. As everyone knows, gulls can be very quick and fearless, and clearly this one is no exception. We’d discourage people from feeding gulls though, as gulls in towns generate lots of complaints every year, and the availability of food is the only reason they live in urban settings.”

The case of the shoplifting seagull has been solved and now an ongoing attraction in Aberdeen, Scotland.

[i] Specifically, the Round Goby, a freshwater bottom-dwelling goby of the family Gobiidae, native to central Eurasia that includes the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.
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