Seagulls Keep Turning Up Drunk And No One Knows Why
“The birds appear disoriented and confused."
Throughout the last couple of weeks, the RSPCA has been receiving a bunch of very unusual calls from beachgoers and people hanging out by the water — about drunk seagulls. At first, everyone at the rescue was a bit confused, but as soon as they went out to collect some of the seagulls in question, they realized why everyone was so concerned.
“At first, the birds look like they have botulism [an illness caused by bacteria] but then, after vomiting, most seem to recover,” Jo Daniel, an officer with the RSPCA, said in a press release. “The birds absolutely stink of alcohol when we collect them so now our vans smell like pubs!”
The rescue has now taken in over a dozen of these drunk seagulls, and everyone is still a bit puzzled as to how this is happening. They suspect that a brewery or other alcohol distributor somewhere is not disposing of its waste properly and the birds are somehow gaining access to it, but at this point, it’s impossible to know for sure.
“Sadly, a few of the birds have died but most of them have made good recoveries and have been released after a few days in our care,” David Couper, a vet with the RSPCA, said in a press release. “I’d like to urge any local vets who see birds coming in with similar symptoms not to euthanize them but to give them a chance to recover from the effects of the alcohol.”
The seagulls seem to be affected by the alcohol in the same way humans are, and just as with a drunk person, they need some time to let the effects wear off before they’re back to normal again.
“The birds appear disoriented and confused and struggle to stand,” Couper said. “We took some video of one of the birds who is staggering around and losing his balance just like a person would if they’d had too much to drink.”
The phenomenon serves as a good reminder to always dispose of your garbage properly after a day on the beach. Whether you’re having a full-blown picnic by the water or just enjoying a few beers while watching the sunset, the things you leave behind can cause harm to the wildlife who call the beach home.
The RSPCA is hoping that this strange string of drunk seagull sightings will end soon. In the meantime, if you see a seagull behaving in a strange way, call your local wildlife rescue for help.