29 OCTOBER 1937, Page 17

Inland Gulls

A phenomenon among birds that astonished some local observers was the appearance of three herring gulls in the neighbourhood of Luton. Some years ago their coming would have been interpreted as a certain sign of a gale ; but these birds appeared in the midst of a run of halcyon days, introduced by a morning mist. The truth is that they are becoming more and more an inland bird, following in the wake of the smaller and less harmful blackheaded gull. The cause is probably the pressure of population : recently all the commoner gulls are becoming much more common ; but I have known them to be attracted by special lures, to wit inland rubbish dumps which appeal to their scavenging habit. On one such dump, not so far from where these three birds were seen, I once watched a mixed company of gulls and plover. I was tolerably sure that the gulls were herring gulls. They were certainly not the common bird of London, the little black-headed species.