Staring at seagulls best way to stop them stealing your food, UK study finds

Scientists in the UK have come up with a defence against seagulls that steal food: stare them out.

Madeleine Goumas, a postgraduate researcher at Exeter University in southwest England, went to the seaside towns of St Ives, Falmouth and Newquay among others with a sealed bag of chips and a stopwatch, the UK Guardian reported.

"When she arrived, she placed the chips about an arm’s length away and timed when the seagulls swooped," the paper reports.

"For half the tests Goumas looked away, pretending not to notice the marauding birds, but for rest she locked eyes with the gulls to see if they would have second thoughts," it said. "According to her study, published in Biology Letters, eye contact made the birds nervy."

Video seen here shows a brazen seagull stealing an ice cream in St.Ives, Cornwall.