As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

The birds that plague the Eternal City

3 August 2014 Last updated at 00:17

By Alan JohnstonBBC News, Rome

Rome has been invaded by thousands of gulls - the birds boldly steal food, make a mess on statues and have even attacked the Pope's doves of peace.

I was on the bus the other morning, drowsily heading for work, but through the window I spotted something that woke me up - a rather gruesome scene.

On the pavement a big, powerful gull was standing over a pigeon it had killed. Then the gull grabbed the carcass in its beak, launched himself over the top of my bus, dropped into a piazza and starting to tear the pigeon apart.

I suppose I still expect gulls to do the sort of things they're supposed to, like ride the wind on lonely shorelines, follow trawlers, live off scraps of fish - not devour pigeons on city streets.

But in many places these birds are giving up on the sea, and moving to town. Rome is no exception.

For thousands of years it had no nesting gulls. They only began coming in the 1980s, lured by bins and dumps groaning with food chucked away by modern Romans. Now there are tens of thousands of gulls here and this latest invasion of the Eternal City can be a bit barbaric.

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