Seagull spotting in St Ives

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Carl Lamb St Ives BID
Carl Lamb, manager of the St Ives Business Improvement District (BID), with Kate Woodstock from St Ives BID

A colourful Seagull Trail around the Cornish seaside town of St Ives is being launched this summer as part of a campaign to help educate people about seagulls and how best to live alongside them.

The St Ives Business Improvement District (BID) has dreamt up the creative initiative for its annual summer campaign as it works to help tourists and locals alike understand gull behaviour, in a bid to avoid any unhappy encounters where hungry Herring Gulls swooping to grab food leads to negative incidents.

Twelve eye-catching seagull models are being placed at bird’s eye view in key locations around the town, with each one decorated by a local artist, school, playgroup, business or neighbourhood club, to make them distinctive, colourful and collectively representative of the St Ives community which makes the town unique.

Maps showing the locations of the gulls will be available to pick up from local businesses, so people can follow the trail to spot all 12 of the brightly painted seagulls. Each will be accompanied by a letter, and these 12 letters will spell out a phrase which can be written onto the space featured on the trail map.

Completed trail maps presented to the Tourist Information Centre will win their owner a bag of themed traditional seaside sweet treats as a reward. Trail maps will also contain some top tips on how to avoid negative encounters with gulls, and advice on how to understand gull behaviour – including a guide to gull language.

Carl Lamb, St Ives BID manager, said: “Seagulls are part of the fabric of St Ives, whether you like them or not, and are as much a distinctive feature of the town as our famous seafront.

“We fund projects to support local businesses by helping to protect people from gull attacks, such as installing ‘don’t feed the gulls’ signs and deterrents like seagull spikes.

“But we also work hard to help people understand how to live happily alongside the seagulls, and show them how to avoid negative encounters – often by educating visitors, and locals, about the danger of feeding the gulls, which can encourage them to snatch food.

“Our Summer Seagull Trail will help to do this, as well as being a really fun celebration of the gulls, and the community of St Ives which they belong to.

“We’re delighted to have so many talented local artists on board, as well as groups of school children, community organisations and even some local tattoo artists.

“The finished trail will be a really colourful attraction in its own right, providing a fun, family-friendly activity to take you around St Ives looking out for the brightly painted seagulls.”

This year’s campaign follows a series of award-winning summer initiatives to help raise awareness of how to understand and live with gulls.

Last year the BID opted for a cutting-edge digital approach and launched a Snapchat Geofilter with a ‘Don’t feed the gulls’ message, which was used by more than 13,000 people.

In 2016, ‘The Daily Gull’ newspaper was printed –  a large sheet of greaseproof wrap for takeaways which featured hints and tips on understanding gulls, to help keep people safe while they enjoyed their fish and chips on the seafront.