The RSPCA has announced that a large number of gulls in various seaside areas of Somerset, Dorset and Devon are showing signs of being adversely affected by alcohol. The first reports came in from the public on June 21 and calls have increased from there on. According to the charity, the birds are reacting in pretty much the same way as humans do when they drink too much. Reportedly the gulls show signs of confusion and disorientation and often lose their balance.

Officers from the RSPCA in Somerset have received over a dozen calls in connection with the gulls and believe the birds may be accessing the waste from a local alcohol producer or brewery.

Somerset is rightly famous for its cider.

RSPCA getting many calls over intoxicated gulls

Jo Daniel, an inspector with the RSPCA in Somerset, said at first they believed the gulls were suffering from botulism, but they discovered that after the birds vomited, they seemed to be fine. Daniel did say the gulls they collected stank of alcohol and that their vans now smell pretty much like the local pubs.

As noted by ITV, David Couper, a vet with the RSPCA in Taunton, said they have treated several of the drunken birds.

He said they have had gulls coming in from all over Devon as well as Lyme Regis and Bridport in Dorset. Couper said that sadly some of the birds did die, but most have made a good recovery and have been released back into the wild after a few days.

Vets should not euthanize intoxicated birds

The Guardian quotes Couper as urging local vets who have gulls coming into their surgeries with similar symptoms to not euthanize them, but rather allow them to recover from their drunken daze and then release them into the wild.

The RSPCA is now contacting the local distilleries, breweries and other alcohol producers to ask them to ensure their alcohol-laced waste is placed in a secure place, out of reach of birds or wildlife.

Leftover beer on the beach

Meanwhile, while most media outlets are talking of alcohol waste from factories and breweries, the Daily Mail is reporting that the gulls are getting drunk from leftover beer cans and containers left on the beaches by holidaymakers.

Possibly with the recent hot weather, more people are taking their beer onto the beach.

That report quotes a Dorset firefighter, Virgil Turner as saying he rescued a gull after it was seen staggering around on a rooftop. Turner said as soon as he picked it up, the gull threw-up all over him and that the bird simply reeked of beer.