Beware the St Ouen seagull of terror
DOG walkers in St Ouen have been looking up nervously at the skies for the past few weeks – and it’s not because they are worried about stormy weather.
A mischievous seagull has seemingly been re-enacting scenes from Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, swooping down on unsuspecting walkers and their pets on the beach.
St Ouen dog walker Jarn Dodd says that not only was one of her pets attacked by the seagull, but that she knows of someone whose wife has also been targeted by the bird.
‘I threw a tennis ball for my dog a few days ago and the seagull snatched the ball and took it down the beach,’ said Mrs Dodd, who owns three dogs – a retriever, a Jack Russell and a boxer-cross. ‘It came back and grabbed her on the back with its claws.
‘And my chiropractor was staying down on St Ouen’s Bay recently and it attacked his wife.’
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Mrs Dodd, who lives in St Lawrence, says many surfers, dog walkers and horse riders have contacted her on Facebook to say that they have also been attacked by the seagull.
She added: ‘I’ve been walking that beach for 20 years and I’ve never encountered a seagull like this. I think it does need to be dealt with and some people have contacted the Environment Department about it.’
Others, meanwhile, say the bird is merely playing.
Another St Ouen dog walker, Jenny Leonard, says she was out walking her four dogs recently when the seagull nabbed her hat.
‘It swooped down and pinched my dogs’ rubber balls, and it even pulled my white woolly hat off my head and flew off with it,’ she said.
Mrs Leonard, who owns four Jack Russell-Border Collie crosses added: ‘I have also seen it swoop down on someone who was riding a horse. It seems to fly between the slip-way near Jersey Pearl all the way along to just beyond Kempt Tower. I’ve been told it was hand-reared and then let loose, but I don’t know by whom.
‘It’s a young seagull that seems to be more playful than anything, but it did peck my head as it pinched my hat. For people who go out walking with their children I think it could be quite frightening.’
Fellow St Ouen resident, Sharon Wilson, says she recently saw the bird fly off with a jogger’s hat.
‘I saw a jogger wearing a beanie hat running along the beach and the seagull swooped down and flew off with it,’ said Mrs Wilson, who has three dogs.
'He even landed on one of my dog’s backs the other day and he’s landed on my head a few times, but he hasn’t hurt us.’
Mrs Wilson added: ‘Some people are saying on social media that the seagull should be killed, others are saying it’s just a young seagull that is being playful – and that’s what I think. When people flap their arms at it, it just flies around them even more because it thinks it’s a game. It doesn’t mean any harm.’