Here is the scoop on a surprising discovery by researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks: seagulls, usually beach buddies, are now taking a liking to city life and artificial intelligence spilled the beans.
In a recent Ecological Informatics publication, the team utilized advanced computer techniques to reveal that short-billed gulls, typically found relaxing along coastlines and rivers, are shifting their living spaces. From May to August, instead of sandy shores, these gulls are hitting up parking lots, industrial spots and even garbage bins near fast-food joints. It is like finding penguins in the desert – unexpected.
Why are they making this move? Well, turns out, they have got a taste for human grub and are loving the trash treasures we leave behind. Professor Falk Huettmann, who led the study, explains that the seagulls are simply enjoying the food we toss out.
But, hold on – living the city life is not all glamorous for these seagulls. The easy-to-find fast food might be yummy, but it is not healthy. Think too much salt, fat, sugar and other not-so-great stuff. Gulls are also turning into detectives for diseases. Where they hang out, diseases tag along and that is not good news for them or us.
Professor Huettmann points out that our actions are affecting nature and changing how we see wildlife. He is using computer tricks to figure out these changes, with the goal of helping us better care for our feathered friends.
In the end, it is like finding out your beach-loving pals are now city slickers – seagulls are making waves and AI is helping us understand why.