What is the deal with seagulls, have they always been opportunistic around humans? I live about 15 miles inland and seagulls would always show up at our schools around lunchtime and could get pretty aggressive over the trash and dropped fries for instance. Crows and finches do the same thing, but the seagulls seem like something is wrong with their natural environment that worries me. That or they just know humans have food
Seagulls are a really great example of what happens when you have a combination of habituation and the ability to adapt well to an urban environment. They’re naturally scavengers with good memories and the ability to fly long distances in search of food - now add in human encroachment on their coastal habitat, human habitations that mimic their nesting sites (sheer edges and flatish roofs) lack of natural predators in cities, and the picnics that come with our beach days and you’ve got a great recipe for a species realizing that it’s way more effective to chill out and utilize humans as a source of food. We’re so many generations into that pattern that they’ve learned how to scout for food-rich areas and time their visits. So it’s not really that there’s something wrong with their natural environment, more that they’ve really adapted to cohabitation with us as their new “natural” state in urban areas.
(…thinking about it, this is actually probably the closest example I’ve seen to how people think proto-wolves might have started the evolutionary journey into becoming dogs. Hanging out around human settlements for the food, slowly adapting across generations for lower flight distance, and eventually learning to utilize us as a resource…)