This is fly-way robbery.
A tot’s dreams of enjoying a delicious cookie crumbled after an opportunistic sea gull snatched his snack during a photo op, as seen in the now-viral TikTok video filmed by his father.
The brief clip — posted by TikTok user @lilwavve to his 315,000 followers — shows the pink-shorted tyke on an undisclosed beach proudly hoisting his cookie in the air and saying “cheese,” per his dad’s instructions. However, the idyllic seaside scene turns sour after a hungry gull flies up and plucks the treat from his outstretched mitt, before making off with its stolen baked good.
The fowl play is so startling that the bewildered boy stumbles back towards his father, who can be heard cackling off camera. The unnamed kid obviously wasn’t aware that you have to stare down sea gulls to keep them from nicking your food, according to a 2019 study published in the Royal Society’s Biology Letters.
“Gulls are often seen as aggressive and willing to take food from humans; by keeping an eye on them people could save their lunch,” said lead author Madeleine Goumas, of Exeter University. “Some gulls might have had positive experiences of being fed in the past — but it seems a couple of very bold ones might ruin the reputation of the rest.”
Still, study co-author Dr. Neeltje Boogert warned, “Gulls learn quickly, so if they get food from humans once, they might look for more.”
Needless to say, this latest brazen bird burglary has generated more than 102,000 views, over 16,000 likes and a flurry of responses on TikTok. “That’s awesome you caught it on video,” exclaimed one gawker. “OMG that’s amazing,” added another.
However, one sympathized with the treat-deprived toddler, saying, “Why you do that to him?”
Another poster shared a similar tale of getting jacked by hangry birds: “Omg once at the beach 2 seagulls stole my whole plate of fries … they just picked it up and left.”
Unfortunately, sea gulls swiping people’s stuff is an all-too-common phenomenon. In August, avian food thefts became such a scourge in Ocean City, New Jersey, that leaders spent $65,000 on a team of hawks, falcons and owls to scare away the pilfering featherbags.
In a more frightening incident last summer, UK residents reported being attacked by violent sea gulls in a scene straight out of Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller “The Birds.”
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