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Note from Sam

It’s a scene many will be familiar with: you buy an ice cream or a bag of fish and chips at the seaside and you soon find yourself fending off the unwanted attention of a hungry seagull. It’s earned gulls a rather negative reputation for grabbing whatever food comes their way. But new research suggests these birds put more thought into their choice of meal than meets the eye.

Paul Graham explains how he found that common herring gulls can work out which foods are worth eating by simply paying attention to what humans are snacking on. He says that this behaviour must come from the gulls’ general intelligence rather than being acquired through a long history of co-evolution with humans – the urbanisation of herring gulls only started 80 years ago.

Plus, a new study has revealed India avoided 1 million tonnes of carbon emissions between 2007 and 2020 through its tiger conservation programme – by preserving forests for the iconic big cat to live in. And if you’re worried about losing your job to artificial intelligence, reading this might ease your concerns.

Sam Phelps

Commissioning Editor, Environment

Herring gull at Burghead Harbour, Scotland. Tom McPherson/Shutterstock

Greedy gulls decide what to eat by watching people – new research

Paul Graham, University of Sussex

Research has found that urban gulls work out what’s good to eat by watching humans.

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