Hiding your picnic from pesky seagulls is common practice for Channel Islanders but now researchers at the University of Exeter think they have found a deterrent.
The old-fashioned method of a staring contest.
Scientists believe the birds are more likely to strike when they can swoop in under the radar, avoiding the gaze of their victims.
University of Exeter researchers put a bag of chips on the ground and tested how long it took herring gulls to approach when someone was watching them.
They compared this to how long it took when the person looked away.
On average the gulls took 21 seconds longer to approach the food they often cheekily swipe from unsuspecting snackers while they were being stared at.
The researchers attempted to test 74 gulls, but most flew away or would not approach.
Only 27 approached the food, and 19 completed both the “looking at” and “looking away” tests. The findings focus on these 19 gulls.
- ITV News' Fran Le Noury went to test the theory...