Walkers in Hyde Park have been shocked to see a “killer seagull” dragging innocent pigeons into a lake and DROWNING them.
Seagulls are usually spotted diving for fish, or eating holidaymakers’ chips by the seaside.
But one psychotic seagull in Hyde Park in central London has taken to grabbing helpless pigeons by the neck, drowning them, and feasting on the remains.
The same seagull has been spotted on the banks of the Serpentine hunting pigeons for the past five years.
Amateur photographer Johanna van de Woestijne, 57, was walking in the park when she witnessed its dramatic hunting technique.
She said: “It was one of the most violent things I have ever seen – after it happened I felt I had witnessed a murder.
“I’ve seen him hunting pigeons on two separate days, both times he picked them off, dragged them into the lake and drowned them.
“He is easy to spot as he has a distinctive look. He is fairly squat and looks muscular, like a bodybuilder. It must be the high meat diet he’s living on.”
Bird experts have said that the behavior is extremely unusual for lesser black-backed gulls – which usually survive on a diet of small fish, aquatic insects and crustaceans.
The aggressive bird wades into a crowd of pigeons, picks out a straggler, then sprints up and seizes it by the neck.
The slaughtering seagull then drags its prey into the Serpentine and drowns it before eating it with his mate.
A local birdwatcher, Ralph Hancock, 66, said he had been observing the menacing gull in the same spot for the past five years.
He said: “It is one of the strangest things I have ever seen a bird do.
“This particular gull has been doing this for at least five years, and the stripped corpses of pigeons are often found on the shore of the lake.”
Mr Hancock, who writes a blog about the behavior of birds in Hyde Park, said the gull had developed its murderous technique over several years.
He said: “The gull began by dropping from the restaurant roof on pigeons flying underneath, but found this inefficient and switched to running at them on the shore.
“Gulls can’t hunt their prey like hawks, which have powerful feet that can strangle a bird even if it’s almost as large as they are. Gulls have weak little webbed feet, that is why they have to drag the bird into the water and drown it.”
Mr Hancock said that no other gulls in the park ate pigeons.
He said: Normally when a gull has a successful feeding strategy, other gulls copy it – this is why so many gulls snatch ice cream at the beach.
“No other gull has managed to copy it here, at least not so far – the others probably aren’t powerful enough.
“The gull is male and has a mate, who is smaller – male gulls are slightly larger than females. She doesn’t take part in the killing, but comes in afterwards and they share the pigeon.”
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