Residents in Fife have been warned not to feed seagulls following a series of attacks.
The daring sorties, occuring across the region, have increased as the birds become more aggressive during nesting season, which runs from from April to July, with mothers more protective of their young towards the end of the season.
Graeme Anderson, a technical officer with Fife Council pest control said: “Some seagulls have learnt to associate people with food and will swoop down on them to try and steal whatever it is that is being eaten.
“This can be frightening, especially where children are involved.
“It is important the public do not feed gulls and we have erected signs in certain areas to highlight the problems they can cause.”
Brian Johnston, 56, a postman in Rosyth was delivering mail at Pinkerton Place when the gull struck last Friday.
Brian, who has never been attacked by a seagull in 32 years on the job, said: “The seagulls have now got chicks and they’ve been swooping down on people. I saw one swooping back and forth and I thought it’d be all right then it hit me.
“Luckily I had my hat on. It went for my head and I certainly felt it.
“I never saw it coming because it came round the back of me.
“It hit me with its wings or legs then went back up to the roof of number 16.
“It was more a shock than anything.
“It’s all right for the likes of me, I can cope with it, but the thing that worries me is, what if it was a child? It’s not too bad right now but once the chicks come off the roof and learn to fly it will be worse.”
Peter Menellis of Links Street, Kirkcaldy was attacked as he left the town’s Bayne’s bakers in with a steak pie on Tuesday lunchtime.
He said: “This huge gull swooped out of nowhere.
“It was gripping my arm with its claws and tried to get the pie.
“It hit me on the face with its wing, which was quite sore.”
Neil Ferguson was hit in the face by a large gull which took his sausage roll.
He said: “I’d eaten two thirds of it and was looking forward to the last bit when it came from behind me and grabbed the meat.
“As it did so it slapped me in the face with its foot.”
Herring gulls are the most common type of gull to nest on buildings in Fife and are protected birds.
Legislation does allow property owners to take action against nesting gulls and this can include egg and nest removal.
Last year Kirkcaldy4All began a three year programme with pest control specialists Ecolab to try and combat the problem by limiting the number of seagull chicks being born.
Bill Harvey, manger at Kirkcaldy4All, said: “Our three year programme should eventually see the number of chicks born in the town centre area reduced.”