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The Birds – Crime and Punishment by Heather Foley

As residents of South Boston we’ve seen a disturbing increase in crime over the years. 

Statistics on drug offenses, breaking and entering and many other types of both violent and nonviolent crime have climbed steadily over the last decade.   But these numbers aren’t totally accurate – there is a large amount of underreported crime that’s causing many South Boston residents to lock themselves in their homes in fear.  That crime is seagull harassment.

Seagull harassment is no joke. 

Based on numbers and research completely made up in my brain, it’s estimated bird on human crime is up 3000% across 02127.  What were once family friendly public parks and beaches have turned into virtual home bases for roving gangs of aviary bullies.  And what about Sully’s?  The favorite nosh spot for generations of Southie families has all been taken over by brazen feathered hooligans.  Every time I go to Sully’s, I have the same ritual – stretch out while I’m waiting for my number to be called (I don’t want to pull a hammy while running for my life through the parking lot), grab my food and try to cover it up with napkins (this has never worked, birds are not easily fooled), then sprint to my car with speed and intensity to rival Flo Jo. 

The key is having your keys at the ready to unlock the car doors.   I used to just leave the car open but one day a particularly dexterous seagull was trying to open the front door with his beak.  If you don’t have your keys out and ready to go by the time you get to your car, seagulls will be circling like vultures just waiting for the opportunity to swoop.

Victims of “gulling”

Not everyone has an effective escape route to leave Sully’s like I do.  Some unfortunate souls aren’t as lucky to make it back to there cars unbothered.  An anonymous source at the BPD was kind enough to pass along the transcripts of an interview with a recent victim of ‘gulling’. 

“…there were about 22, maybe 27 of them…I don’t know – it all happened so fast.  Looking back I’m pretty sure they targeted me because I was alone…”

“..several of them defecated on my car at the same time, I should have known this meant something, but I just assumed a ton of good luck was going to come my way…”

“..the intimidation began, threatening and aggressive, vulgar caws by low flying soldier gulls…”

Name has been changed to protect the innocent

This victim, Raul McCormackez*, was brave enough to come forward, but most aren’t.  Is it the threat of intimidation?  Or maybe it’s the embarrassment of being scared of a formally lovable character from The Little Mermaid?  Or is our society’s tendency to blame the victim  – i.e. he deserved to be chased the way he was flashing those onion rings all over the place?  I don’t have the answers but I’m hoping this article will serve to open up a dialogue.  We need to get real and confront this problem before we have a Hitchcock situation on our hands (does anyone believe for a second that the seagulls at Castle Island aren’t capable of reeking that level of havoc?) Personally I think the first step is to call out the species traders who feed the birds in public places.  It’s your fault they’re not afraid of us.  It’s your fault they don’t know their place in society.  It’s your fault victims like Raul McCormackez* can’t watch Finding Nemo without having flashbacks.  Call your local politicians and tell them you want stricter penalties for seagull harassment and seagulls human accomplices.  Together we can make a difference.

*name has been changed to protect the innocent

 

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.