(CNN) – A new study suggests an eagle eye can help keep seagulls at bay.
Researchers from the University of Exeter in England wanted to know if the birds would be slower to steal food if a human was watching them.
So they put a bag of chips on the ground and waited.
They discovered that on average it took seagulls 21 seconds longer to approach the food if a person was eyeing them.
The scientists also observed that out of the 74 birds they tested, only 27 would come near the food whether they were being watched or not.
They believe the behavior may be explained by differences in the birds’ personalities or positive experiences eating human food in the past.
Whatever the case – it appears a small minority of the seagull population makes the species appear more aggressive in stealing food than the birds actually are.