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Seagulls in England Take Plastic Golf Balls for Mussels
Seagulls in Paignton, Devon, England have apparently confused plastic golf balls for mussels. One resident of the coastal town, Margaret Bellhouse, and her house have been pelted with over 50 of the "air flow" balls this summer.
The regular air drops have created quite a few headaches for Bellhouse. "I was sitting in the living room one evening when I heard something land on the roof and then roll down and into the back yard," she told reporter Larisa Brown of the Daily Mail.
"When I went out into the yard I saw a couple of yellow balls but didn't think much of it - I just thought maybe it was the children in the house upstairs. It happened again, and this time I saw a gull fly down after the ball, take a look at it and then fly off again. It just keeps happening. I've tried to find out where they are from but nobody has any idea."
In an effort to find the source of the balls, Bellhouse has contacted dozens of area golf clubs, but all have denied using the balls.
A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Tony Whitehead, surmises the birds are simply confused. "What you will often see at the seaside with gulls is that they use a similar method to this to open mussels.
"They carry them up into the air and drop them to crack them open. This sort of behavior is quite well known in gulls, they are very clever creatures. They probably see the balls as potential food, but then gulls see most things as potential food."