LOCATED next to the North Sea, the seagull may be an obvious choice to be one of Aberdeen Football Club’s mascots. But the pesky bird is causing a major flap for fans during home matches in the Granite City.
Aberdeen FC was yesterday forced to defend its efforts in attempting to stop the scenes which are reminiscent of the Alfred Hitchcock classic movie, The Birds, at Pittodrie Stadium, sited near to Aberdeen Beach.
The club issued a statement on its official website stating how it was trying to tackle the problem of menacing seagulls, including drastic measure of recruiting a hawk to scare them off. The club said: “Aberdeen FC has adopted a strong policy regarding the city-wide problem with seagulls.
“The club has employed for the past few seasons now a fully licensed company who specialise in eradicating and controlling these birds.
“This company have been taking care of the nests and eggs three times a week to keep the birds controlled.
“Currently Aberdeen FC has no nesting in and around the actual stadium buildings; however we cannot control this outwith our boundary and birds are nesting in and around the flats around the stadium.”
AFC added: “We continue to have a hawk flying during the week at Pittodrie and also an hour before doors open on match days.
“In addition to this, last year we installed an automatic audible warning system which distributes various distress calls from different birds to act as a deterrent. For obvious reasons we cannot fly birds of prey during games.
“Seagulls are very intelligent birds and will always gather where a large crowd of people are and where food is consumed so we would urge all fans to take care and use the bins provided for unwanted food which will assist in controlling the seagulls.”
Scores of fans had raised concerns following this month’s Europa League qualifiers against FK Shkendija and Rijeka.
Aberdeen FC has established matchday mascots which include Sammy the Seagull, as well as Angus the Bull and Donny the Sheep. Coincidentally, four-times Scottish champions Aberdeen’s next fixture is goalkeeper Jamie Langfield’s testimonial match against Brighton and Hove Albion, who are nicknamed the Seagulls, tomorrow.
The club’s actions brought a mixed response from fans on social media.
Chris Parker said: “The club should be proud of the strong willed Larus Argentatus (European herring gull) that frequents Pittodrie, it’s guile and winning mentality. The mighty herring gull shows true Aberdonian fichtin’ spirit.”
However, Keith Middleton said: “Shoot the flying rats!”
And Sean Niven added: “The problem lies with fans throwing food in the stadium.”
David Ogg said: “Issuing a statement saying that seagulls are a problem (I agree with completely by the way) yet one of our own mascots is a giant seagull. Mixed messages.”