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Researchers have come [down / up] with a useful tactic to [deter / defer] seagulls from stealing your picnic sandwiches or making a [garb / grab] for your French fries. The advice is to stare at the birds to prevent any food theft. This invaluable [tip / pit] comes from a study from the University of Exeter in the UK. Researchers conducted tests at a beach on the [affects / effects] of staring at the sea birds. They put a bag of [fries / flies] on the ground and monitored how long it took gulls to approach and [snitch / snatch] the fries without a researcher looking at the birds. They then carried [up / out] the same test, but this time a researcher [did / made] eye contact as a bird approached. The birds took an extra 21 seconds [to / and] approach the food when a researcher stared at them.

The researchers concluded [what / that] the seagulls were [deterred / deferred] by the human gaze. Only 26 per cent of the birds made an attempt to take the researchers' food with the [eying / eye] contact. Three-quarters of the birds just [stood / stand] still and looked at the food or [threw / flew] away. Lead researcher Madeleine Goumas said: "I [noticed / noticing] that gulls seemed to have a bad reputation for food-snatching, but I saw it happen quite [rare / rarely] . When I did see it happen, gulls often [swooped / swapped] in from behind, and the people were completely [oblivious / oblivion] . Gulls are often seen as aggressive and willing to take food from humans, so it was interesting to find that most wouldn't even come [near / nearly] during our tests."

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