In the long-standing conflict of man versus seagull, one West Australian restaurant has armed its patrons with water pistols to battle for the last chip on the plate.
The 3Sheets eatery at the coastal Perth tourist spot Hillary’s Boat Harbour had lived in harmony with the sea birds until a few weeks ago when they suddenly turned “vicious”.
Owner Toby Evans said seagulls were a fact of life when serving food by the ocean.
“They used to sort of sit there and wait for diners to leave and then we’d clear up the plates really fast. But for the last two weeks they’ve been really bad,” Mr Evans said.
As the birds became bolder, Mr Evans said he dreamed up the idea after trying every humane bird-scaring technique.
“We bought fake owls, fake hawks, basically anything for sale at Bunnings,” he said.
Apart from complaints by “Facebook warriors” and “do gooders”, he says the public response to the water pistols had been positive.
“People are defending their dinner and it’s worked so far,” Mr Evans said.
“After all the tragedies we’ve had recently it’s nice to have something with a bit of fun.”
He had several theories behind the behaviour, including that the gulls were enjoying the long summer or fattening themselves up before winter.
“Or they’ve gone to a training camp,” Mr Evans said.
He hopes the emboldened birds soon move on and life returns to normal.