The Reading / Listening - Seagulls - Level 6

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



The researchers concluded that the seagulls were deterred by the human gaze. Only 26 per cent of the birds made an attempt to take the researchers' food with the eye contact. Three-quarters of the birds just stood still and looked at the food or flew away. Lead researcher Madeleine Goumas said: "I noticed that gulls seemed to have a bad reputation for food-snatching, but I saw it happen quite rarely. When I did see it happen, gulls often swooped in from behind, and the people were completely oblivious. 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 during our tests."

Try the same news story at these easier levels:

    Seagulls - Level 4  or  Seagulls - Level 5

Sources
  • https://www.cbsnews.com/news/want-seagulls-to-stop-stealing-your-food-try-staring-at-them-scientists-say/
  • https://www.eater.com/2019/8/9/20799131/seagull-beach-food-stealing-stare-it-in-the-eye
  • https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/staring-seagulls-can-stop-them-stealing-your-food-scientists-say-ncna1040456


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Warm-ups

1. SEAGULLS: Students walk around the class and talk to other students about seagulls. Change partners often and share your findings.
2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, talk about these topics or words from the article. What will the article say about them? What can you say about these words and your life?
       tactic / stealing / picnic / sandwiches / fries / theft / tests / ground / researcher /
       human gaze / eye contact / flew away / reputation / oblivious / aggressive / tests
Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.
3. FEED: Students A strongly believe people should never feed seagulls; Students B strongly believe they should.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.
4. FOOD THEFT: How could you stop these creatures from stealing your French fries? How effective would this be? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners often and share what you wrote.

 

Anti-theft Measures

How Effective?

Seagulls

 

 

Elephants

 

 

Ants

 

 

Cats

 

 

Locusts

 

 

Your best friend

 

 

MY e-BOOK
ESL resource book with copiable worksheets and handouts - 1,000 Ideas and Activities for Language Teachers / English teachers
See a sample

5. PICNIC: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word "picnic". Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.
6. THE BEST BIRDS: Rank these with your partner. Put the best birds at the top. Change partners often and share your rankings.

  • humming bird
  • penguin
  • pigeon
  • peacock
  • seagull
  • eagle
  • emu
  • parrot

 

Vocabulary

    Paragraph 1

      1. tactic a. The action or crime of stealing.
      2. deter b. Extremely useful.
      3. grab c. An action or strategy carefully planned to achieve a specific end.
      4. theft d. The act of looking directly into one another's eyes.
      5. invaluable e. Discourage someone from doing something by instilling doubt or fear of the consequences.
      6. approach f. Grasp or seize suddenly and roughly.
      7. eye contact g. Come near or nearer to.

    Paragraph 2

      8. gaze h. Ready or likely to attack or confront.
      9. attempt i. Look steadily and intently, especially in admiration, surprise, or thought.
      10. reputation j. Make an effort to achieve or complete something, typically a difficult task or action.
      11. rarely k. Especially of a bird - move rapidly downward through the air.
      12. swooped l. Not often; seldom.
      13. oblivious m. The beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something.
      14. aggressive n. Not aware of or not concerned about what is happening around one.

 

Before reading / listening

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if 1-8 below are true (T) or false (F).

  1. Scientists devised a useful tactic to prevent seagulls taking your food.     T / F
  2. Researchers carried out tests on a bench to attract seagulls with fries.     T / F
  3. Researchers conducted tests with seagulls with and without eye contact.  T / F
  4. Seagulls in tests took 21 seconds longer to approach food when stared at. T / F
  5. Over a quarter of seagulls tried to take food despite being stared at.     T / F
  6. A researcher said seagulls have a good reputation.     T / F
  7. The researcher said she regularly saw gulls swooping for people's food.   T / F
  8. The researcher said gulls are not seen as being aggressive.     T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

  1. tactic
  2. stealing
  3. prevent
  4. monitored
  5. approach
  6. concluded
  7. still
  8. reputation
  9. oblivious
  10. aggressive
  1. watched
  2. motionless
  3. hostile
  4. stop
  5. unsuspecting
  6. strategy
  7. decided
  8. thieving
  9. good name
  10. move toward

3. PHRASE MATCH: (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

  1. Researchers have come up with a useful
  2. making a grab
  3. stare at the birds to prevent
  4. a researcher made
  5. The birds took an extra 21 seconds to
  6. the seagulls were deterred
  7. Three-quarters of the birds just stood
  8. gulls seemed to have a bad
  9. gulls often swooped
  10. Gulls are often seen
  1. as aggressive
  2. approach the food
  3. eye contact
  4. still
  5. for your French fries
  6. reputation
  7. in from behind
  8. tactic to deter seagulls
  9. by the human gaze
  10. any food theft

Gap fill

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
conducted
carried
grab
stared
tactic
contact
approach
theft

Researchers have come up with a useful (1) ____________ to deter seagulls from stealing your picnic sandwiches or making a (2) ____________ for your French fries. The advice is to stare at the birds to prevent any food (3) ____________. This invaluable tip comes from a study from the University of Exeter in the UK. Researchers (4) ____________ tests at a beach on the effects of staring at the sea birds. They put a bag of fries on the ground and monitored how long it took gulls to (5) ____________ and snatch the fries without a researcher looking at the birds. They then (6) ____________ out the same test, but this time a researcher made eye (7) ____________ as a bird approached. The birds took an extra 21 seconds to approach the food when a researcher (8) ____________ at them.

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
reputation
gaze
aggressive
attempt
oblivious
rarely
flew
swooped

The researchers concluded that the seagulls were deterred by the human (9) ____________. Only 26 per cent of the birds made an (10) ____________ to take the researchers' food with the eye contact. Three-quarters of the birds just stood still and looked at the food or (11) ____________ away. Lead researcher Madeleine Goumas said: "I noticed that gulls seemed to have a bad (12) ____________ for food-snatching, but I saw it happen quite (13) ____________. When I did see it happen, gulls often (14) ____________ in from behind, and the people were completely (15) ____________. Gulls are often seen as (16) ____________ and willing to take food from humans, so it was interesting to find that most wouldn't even come near during our tests."

Listening — Guess the answers. Listen to check.

1)  a useful tactic to deter seagulls from stealing your ______
     a.  pick nick sandwiches
     b.  picky nick sandwiches
     c.  picnic sandwiches
     d.  picked nick sandwiches
2)  The advice is to stare at the birds to prevent any ______
     a.  food cleft
     b.  food theft
     c.  food weft
     d.  food deft
3)  monitored how long it took gulls to approach and ______
     a.  dispatch the fries
     b.  swatch the fries
     c.  stash the fries
     d.  snatch the fries
4)  carried out the same test, but this time a researcher made ______
     a.  eye contact
     b.  eyed contact
     c.  eyes contact
     d.  eying contact
5)  The birds took an extra 21 seconds to ______ food
     a.  reproach the
     b.  ape roach the
     c.  up roach the
     d.  approach the

6)  researchers concluded that the seagulls were deterred by the ______
     a.  human graze
     b.  human glaze
     c.  human gauze
     d.  human gaze
7)  Three-quarters of the birds just stood still and looked at the food ______
     a.  or threw away
     b.  or fly away
     c.  or flew away
     d.  or few away
8)  Goumas said: "I noticed that gulls seemed to have a ______"
     a.  bade reputation
     b.  badge reputation
     c.  badly reputation
     d.  bad reputation
9)  gulls often swooped in from behind, and the people were ______
     a.  completely oblivion
     b.  completely obvious
     c.  completely oblgates
     d.  completely oblivious
10)  interesting to find that most wouldn't even come near ______
     a.  during your tests
     b.  during our tests
     c.  during their tests
     d.  during them tests

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Researchers have come up with a useful (1) ___________________ seagulls from stealing your picnic sandwiches or (2) ___________________ for your French fries. The advice is to stare at the birds to prevent any food theft. This (3) ___________________ from a study from the University of Exeter in the UK. Researchers conducted tests at a beach on the (4) ___________________ at the sea birds. They put a bag of fries on the ground and monitored how long it took gulls to approach and (5) ___________________ without a researcher looking at the birds. They then carried out the same test, but this time a researcher made eye contact as (6) ___________________. The birds took an extra 21 seconds to approach the food when a researcher stared at them.

The researchers concluded that the seagulls (7) ___________________ the human gaze. Only 26 per cent of the birds made an attempt to take the researchers' food with the eye contact. (8) ___________________ birds just stood still and looked at the food (9) ___________________. Lead researcher Madeleine Goumas said: "I noticed that gulls seemed to have (10) ___________________ for food-snatching, but I saw it happen quite rarely. When I did see it happen, gulls (11) ___________________ from behind, and the people were completely oblivious. Gulls are often (12) ___________________ and willing to take food from humans, so it was interesting to find that most wouldn't even come near during our tests."

Comprehension questions

  1. What did the article say researchers have come up with?
  2. What might seagulls make a grab for besides picnic sandwiches?
  3. Where did researchers conduct their tests?
  4. What did the researchers do with the birds in the second test?
  5. How much longer did gulls take to approach food after being stared at?
  6. What did the researchers say the human gaze did to seagulls?
  7. What percentage of seagulls tried to take food after eye contact?
  8. What did a researcher say was bad among seagulls?
  9. How often did the researcher see seagulls snatching food?
  10. What did the researcher say gulls were often seen as being?




Multiple choice quiz

1) What did the article say researchers have come up with?
a) theft-proof food
b) a gun
c) a tactic to deter seagulls
d) a seagull catcher
2) What might seagulls make a grab for besides picnic sandwiches?
a) French fries
b) chocolate brownies
c) pizza
d) donuts
3) Where did researchers conduct their tests?
a) on a pier
b) on a bench
c) in a park
d) on a beach
4) What did the researchers do with the birds in the second test?
a) catch them
b) make eye contact
c) reward them
d) feed them fish
5) How much longer did gulls take to approach food after being stared at?
a) a lot longer
b) microseconds
c) an extra 21 seconds
d) 7.5 seconds

6) What did the researchers say the human gaze did to seagulls?
a) scared them
b) deterred them
c) hypnotized them
d) made them squawk
7) What percentage of seagulls tried to take food after eye contact?
a) 27%
b) 24%
c) 25%
d) 26%
8) What did a researcher say was bad among seagulls?
a) their smell
b) their reputation
c) their noise
d) their waste
9) How often did the researcher see seagulls snatching food?
a) quite rarely
b) almost never
c) often
d) very frequently
10) What did the researcher say gulls were often seen as being?
a) cute
b) carnivores
c) pests
d) aggressive

Role play

Role  A – Seagulls
You think seagulls are the best birds. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their birds. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): eagles, penguins or parrots.

Role  B – Eagles
You think eagles are the best birds. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their birds. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): seagulls, penguins or parrots.

Role  C – Penguins
You think penguins are the best birds. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their birds. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): parrots, seagulls or eagles.

Role  D – Parrots
You think parrots are the best birds. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their birds. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): penguins, eagles or seagulls.

After reading / listening

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words...

'seagull'

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • and 'food'.

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • • Share your findings with your partners.

    • Make questions using the words you found.

    • Ask your partner / group your questions.

    2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

    •Share your questions with other classmates / groups. •Ask your partner / group your questions.

    3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

    4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

    5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

    • 26
    • three
    • lead
    • bad
    • often
    • during
    • useful
    • advice
    • tip
    • bag
    • snatch
    • 21




    Student survey

    Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

    (Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

    Discussion - Stare at seagulls to stop them stealing your food

    STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

    1. What did you think when you read the headline?
    2. What images are in your mind when you hear the word 'seagulls'?
    3. What do you know about seagulls?
    4. What do you think of picnics?
    5. Which are better - sandwiches or French fries?
    6. Do you think staring at seagulls is a good tactic?
    7. What is your tip for stopping seagulls stealing your food?
    8. What do you think of the test in the article?
    9. How would you stop seagulls from stealing food?
    10. What do you think of feeding bread to birds?

    STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

    1. Did you like reading this article? Why/not?
    2. What do you think of when you hear the word 'food'?
    3. What do you think about what you read?
    4. Are you surprised that the gulls were deterred by the human gaze?
    5. What other birds might take your food?
    6. What other birds are pests?
    7. What are the most helpful birds?
    8. What do you think of the sound of seagulls?
    9. Should we feed birds?
    10. What questions would you like to ask the researchers?

    Discussion — Write your own questions

    STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

    (a) ________________

    (b) ________________

    (c) ________________

    (d) ________________

    (e) ________________

    STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

    (f) ________________

    (g) ________________

    (h) ________________

    (i) ________________

    (j) ________________





    Language — Cloze (Gap-fill)

    Researchers have come up with a useful (1) ____ to deter seagulls from stealing your picnic sandwiches or making a (2) ____ for your French fries. The advice is to stare at the birds to prevent any food theft. This (3) ____ tip comes from a study from the University of Exeter in the UK. Researchers conducted tests at a beach on the (4) ____ of staring at the sea birds. They put a bag of fries on the ground and monitored how long it took gulls to approach and snatch the fries without a researcher looking at the birds. They then carried (5) ____ the same test, but this time a researcher made eye contact as a bird approached. The birds (6) ____ an extra 21 seconds to approach the food when a researcher stared at them.

    The researchers concluded that the seagulls were (7) ____ by the human gaze. Only 26 per cent of the birds made an attempt to take the researchers' food with the eye contact. Three-quarters of the birds just (8) ____ still and looked at the food or flew away. Lead researcher Madeleine Goumas said: "I noticed that gulls seemed to have a (9) ____ reputation for food-snatching, but I saw it happen quite rarely. When I did see it happen, gulls often (10) ____ in from behind, and the people were completely (11) ____. Gulls are often seen as aggressive and (12) ____ to take food from humans, so it was interesting to find that most wouldn't even come near during our tests."

    Which of these words go in the above text?

    1. (a)     tacit     (b)     tactic     (c)     taciturn     (d)     tact    
    2. (a)     garb     (b)     grab     (c)     grub     (d)     gerbil    
    3. (a)     values     (b)     valuer     (c)     valuation     (d)     invaluable    
    4. (a)     reflects     (b)     effects     (c)     infects     (d)     affects    
    5. (a)     our     (b)     out     (c)     in     (d)     up    
    6. (a)     used     (b)     made     (c)     took     (d)     gave    
    7. (a)     deferred     (b)     referred     (c)     deterred     (d)     perturbed    
    8. (a)     flew     (b)     fluttered     (c)     stood     (d)     legged    
    9. (a)     inferior     (b)     shoddy     (c)     inept     (d)     bad    
    10. (a)     swooped     (b)     swiped     (c)     swapped     (d)     swamped    
    11. (a)     oblivious     (b)     obvious     (c)     obviate     (d)     obligate    
    12. (a)     enabling     (b)     doing     (c)     willing     (d)     making

    Spelling

    Paragraph 1

    1. come up with a useful catcti
    2. renvept any food theft
    3. This nlauibleva tip
    4. mdtineoor how long it took
    5. tnchsa the fries
    6. an extra 21 seconds to oparahpc the food

    Paragraph 2

    1. seagulls were dreedret by the human gaze
    2. gulls seemed to have a bad tietnauopr
    3. I saw it happen quite reyalr
    4. gulls often owspode in from behind
    5. people were completely uoolviibs
    6. often seen as ggesivsaer

    Put the text back together

    (...)  tests at a beach on the effects of staring at the sea birds. They put a bag of fries on the
    (...)  humans, so it was interesting to find that most wouldn't even come near during our tests."
    (...)  that gulls seemed to have a bad reputation for food-snatching, but I saw it happen quite
    (...)  ground and monitored how long it took gulls to approach and snatch the fries without a researcher
    (...)  were completely oblivious. Gulls are often seen as aggressive and willing to take food from
    (...)  rarely. When I did see it happen, gulls often swooped in from behind, and the people
    (...)  of the birds made an attempt to take the researchers' food with the eye contact. Three-quarters of the birds just stood
    (...)  The researchers concluded that the seagulls were deterred by the human gaze. Only 26 per cent
    (...)  contact as a bird approached. The birds took an extra 21 seconds to approach the food when a researcher stared at them.
    (...)  making a grab for your French fries. The advice is to stare at the birds to prevent any food
    (...)  looking at the birds. They then carried out the same test, but this time a researcher made eye
    (...)  still and looked at the food or flew away. Lead researcher Madeleine Goumas said: "I noticed
    1  ) Researchers have come up with a useful tactic to deter seagulls from stealing your picnic sandwiches or
    (...)  theft. This invaluable tip comes from a study from the University of Exeter in the UK. Researchers conducted

    Put the words in the right order

    1. useful   from   tactic   A   to   seagulls   stealing   .   deter
    2. a   for   fries   .   Making   grab   French   your
    3. advice   birds   .   stare   The   is   to   at   the
    4. staring   at   effects   sea   birds   .   of   the   The
    5. seconds   21   Birds   extra   an   took   to   approach   .
    6. by   deterred   the   seagulls   gaze   .   human   were   The
    7. the   birds   of   just   still   .   stood   Three-quarters
    8. seemed   Gulls   to   reputation   .   bad   a   have
    9. to   take   and   willing   Aggressive   from   food   humans   .
    10. tests   .   our   even   Most   come   during   near   wouldn't

    Circle the correct word (20 pairs)

    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."

    Talk about the connection between each pair of words in italics, and why the correct word is correct.

    Insert the vowels (a, e, i, o, u)

    R_s__ r c h_r s h_v_ c_m_ _p w_t h _ _s_f_l t_c t_c t_ d_t_r s__ g_l l s f r_m s t__ l_n g y__ r p_c n_c s_n d w_c h_s _r m_k_n g _ g r_b f_r y__ r F r_n c h f r__ s . T h_ _d v_c_ _s t_ s t_r_ _t t h_ b_r d s t_ p r_v_n t _n y f__ d t h_f t . T h_s _n v_l__ b l_ t_p c_m_s f r_m _ s t_d y f r_m t h_ U n_v_r s_t y _f E x_t_r _n t h_ U K . R_s__ r c h_r s c_n d_c t_d t_s t s _t _ b__ c h _n t h_ _f f_c t s _f s t_r_n g _t t h_ s__ b_r d s . T h_y p_t _ b_g _f f r__ s _n t h_ g r__ n d _n d m_n_t_r_d h_w l_n g _t t__ k g_l l s t_ _p p r__ c h _n d s n_t c h t h_ f r__ s w_t h__ t _ r_s__ r c h_r l__ k_n g _t t h_ b_r d s . T h_y t h_n c_r r__ d __ t t h_ s_m_ t_s t , b_t t h_s t_m_ _ r_s__ r c h_r m_d_ _y_ c_n t_c t _s _ b_r d _p p r__ c h_d . T h_ b_r d s t__ k _n _x t r_ 2 1 s_c_n d s t_ _p p r__ c h t h_ f__ d w h_n _ r_s__ r c h_r s t_r_d _t t h_m .

    T h_ r_s__ r c h_r s c_n c l_d_d t h_t t h_ s__ g_l l s w_r_ d_t_r r_d b y t h_ h_m_n g_z_. O n l y 2 6 p_r c_n t _f t h_ b_r d s m_d_ _n _t t_m p t t_ t_k_ t h_ r_s__ r c h_r s ' f__ d w_t h t h_ _y_ c_n t_c t . T h r__ - q__ r t_r s _f t h_ b_r d s j_s t s t__ d s t_l l _n d l__ k_d _t t h_ f__ d _r f l_w _w_y . L__ d r_s__ r c h_r M_d_l__ n_ G__ m_s s__ d : " I n_t_c_d t h_t g_l l s s__ m_d t_ h_v_ _ b_d r_p_t_t__ n f_r f__ d - s n_t c h_n g , b_t I s_w _t h_p p_n q__ t_ r_r_l y . W h_n I d_d s__ _t h_p p_n , g_l l s _f t_n s w__ p_d _n f r_m b_h_n d , _n d t h_ p__ p l_ w_r_ c_m p l_t_l y _b l_v___s . G_l l s _r_ _f t_n s__ n _s _g g r_s s_v_ _n d w_l l_n g t_ t_k_ f__ d f r_m h_m_n s , s_ _t w_s _n t_r_s t_n g t_ f_n d t h_t m_s t w__ l d n ' t _v_n c_m_ n__ r d_r_n g __ r t_s t s . "

    Punctuate the text and add capitals

    researchers have come up with a useful tactic to deter seagulls from stealing your picnic sandwiches or making a grab for your french fries the advice is to stare at the birds to prevent any food theft this invaluable tip comes from a study from the university of exeter in the uk researchers conducted tests at a beach on the effects of staring at the sea birds they put a bag of fries on the ground and monitored how long it took gulls to approach and snatch the fries without a researcher looking at the birds they then carried out the same test but this time a researcher made eye contact as a bird approached the birds took an extra 21 seconds to approach the food when a researcher stared at them

    the researchers concluded that the seagulls were deterred by the human gaze only 26 per cent of the birds made an attempt to take the researchers food with the eye contact threequarters of the birds just stood still and looked at the food or flew away lead researcher madeleine goumas said i noticed that gulls seemed to have a bad reputation for foodsnatching but i saw it happen quite rarely when i did see it happen gulls often swooped in from behind and the people were completely oblivious gulls are often seen as aggressive and willing to take food from humans so it was interesting to find that most wouldnt even come near during our tests"

    Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

    Researchershavecomeupwithausefultactictodeterseagullsfromsteal
    ingyourpicnicsandwichesormakingagrabforyourFrenchfries.Theadv
    iceistostareatthebirdstopreventanyfoodtheft.Thisinvaluabletipcom
    esfromastudyfromtheUniversityofExeterintheUK.Researcherscond
    uctedtestsatabeachontheeffectsofstaringattheseabirds.Theyputab
    agoffriesonthegroundandmonitoredhowlongittookgullstoapproacha
    ndsnatchthefrieswithoutaresearcherlookingatthebirds.Theythencar
    riedoutthesametest,butthistimearesearchermadeeyecontactasabir
    dapproached.Thebirdstookanextra21secondstoapproachthefoodwh
    enaresearcherstaredatthem.Theresearchersconcludedthattheseag
    ullsweredeterredbythehumangaze.Only26percentofthebirdsmadea
    nattempttotaketheresearchers'foodwiththeeyecontact.Three-quar
    tersofthebirdsjuststoodstillandlookedatthefoodorflewaway.Leadres
    earcherMadeleineGoumassaid:"Inoticedthatgullsseemedtohaveab
    adreputationforfood-snatching,butIsawithappenquiterarely.Whe
    nIdidseeithappen,gullsoftenswoopedinfrombehind,andthepeoplew
    erecompletelyoblivious.Gullsareoftenseenasaggressiveandwillingto
    takefoodfromhumans,soitwasinterestingtofindthatmostwouldn'tev
    encomenearduringourtests."

    Free writing

    Write about seagulls for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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    Academic writing

    We should absolutely never feed birds with our lunch. Discuss.

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    Homework

    1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google's search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.
    2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about this news story. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.
    3. SEAGULLS: Make a poster about seagulls. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?
    4. ANTI-THEFT FOOD: Write a magazine article about scientists making food that seagulls cannot steal. Include imaginary interviews with people who are for and against this.
    Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).
    5. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.
    6. LETTER: Write a letter to an expert on seagulls. Ask him/her three questions about them. Give him/her three of your ideas on how to protect your lunch from seagulls. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

    Answers

    (Please look at page 26 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

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