15 FEBRUARY 1935, Page 16

Gulls and Hare

The experience of the jackdaw on the road is strange, but I heard, almost simultaneously, of a yet stranger example of "nature red in tooth and claw" from easterly England. Three herring gulls were seen to attack and kill a full-grown hare. I have had a number of accounts from friends in Scotland of the increasing assault by gulls, especially herring gulls, on grouse. They regularly quarter some moors in search of the nests. One of my family saw a herring gull in North Devon come down on the little lawn in front of a house by the sea and carry off a thrush that was feeding on ertunbs thrown from the window. Black-backed gulls are probably the savagest of all the birds of prey. Many years ago on the west coast of Ireland a great sportsman of my acquaintance saw two rob a seal of a good sized fish. They so mobbed the seal every time he came to the surface that finally he dropped the meal and one of the pair carried it off in a flash. They will kill a wounded duck, even a full- grown mallard, by driving their bills like javelins into the bird's breast feathers. These are grim feats enough, but the killing of the hare is an extravagance of savagery quite new to my experience at any rate.