Quick Takes: Gone a-fowl | WORLD
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Quick Takes: Gone a-fowl

To battle seagull infestation, zoo places want ad for human scarecrows

Illustration by Jessica Smith

Quick Takes: Gone a-fowl
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There’s one animal that administrators at Blackpool Zoo in the United Kingdom would like to see fewer of: seagulls. The zoo recently placed an advertisement seeking people who are willing to don bird costumes to scare away the proliferation of seagulls at the zoo, which is located in the seaside town of Blackpool. Successful candidates, the advertisement says, must be outgoing and comfortable wearing a costume. “The seagulls are proving to be a bit of a nuisance when it comes to trying to steal food from our visitors and our animal enclosures,” the ad explained. According to zoo officials, the human bird botherer would spend a lot of time in the zoo’s food court trying to prevent seagulls from swiping patrons’ lunches.

Flushing out secrets

Of all the places to leave sensitive government papers, this might be the most embarrassing. Workers at a pub in Cumbria, U.K., said they found documents containing naval secrets on the floor of a restroom stall. The files, marked “official sensitive” according to The Sun, featured details about the HMS Anson, a newly launched, $1.6 billion submarine. According to press accounts, the stack of papers discovered in the pub restroom were found with an abandoned Royal Navy lanyard. A spokes­person downplayed the leak, saying the papers were only generic training documents.

Running back home

His old owners may have surrendered him for adoption, but one golden retriever wasn’t ready for a new home. As soon as Cooper the dog arrived with his new ­family at their home in Northern Ireland on April 1, the dog ran away. Cooper’s new owners searched for him to no avail. But 27 days later, Cooper reappeared—about 40 miles away at his original owners’ home. The dog’s new owners say Cooper has now accepted his new domicile and is recovering from the attempted flight to his old life.

Boat in a blunder

A Spanish navy vessel on a mission to update maps and improve nautical safety near the Mediterranean island of Ibiza ran into trouble itself. The vessel Malaspina had been charting depths around Ibiza in order to improve commercial boat traffic in the area. But while sounding depths, the ship’s crew lost track of their location and ran aground in an area of shallow water. An initial inspection revealed no lasting damage, except to the pride of the cartographical crew.

Art you can eat?

A hungry patron of the Leeum Museum of Art in Seoul, South Korea, took a ripe banana duct-taped to the museum’s wall and ate it. But the fruit wasn’t a snack. It was part of a satirical art installation by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan titled Comedian. Korean news agency KBS said art student Noh Hyun-soo ignored warnings as he took the banana off the wall, ate it, and then retaped the peel to the wall. Later Noh told KBS it wasn’t just hunger that motivated him to eat the art installation. He said damaging the piece could also be seen as a form of art. Staff at the museum quickly replaced the banana after Noh left.

Creative correction

Criticize the umpire? Then get ready to call balls and strikes yourself. Leaders of a youth baseball league in New Jersey introduced a new rule attempting to curb abusive heckling of umpires by imposing a stiff yearlong suspension for any parent caught hurling invective at game officials. But according to Deptford Township Little League President Don Bozzuffi, parents can avoid a suspension if they agree to umpire three league games as a volunteer. Bozzuffi, who noted he’s having trouble finding umpires willing to work games due to abusive spectator behavior, said he hoped working a few games would provide ­hecklers some perspective.

Educator incentive

A teacher shortage and an inability to raise salaries has led one Arizona school district to get creative in its quest to fill teaching jobs. Chino Valley Unified School District recently announced plans to build 10 studio apartments for district teachers. Each tiny home will measure 400 square feet and cost $550 to rent per month—a price school officials say is well below local market rates and hopefully will lure prospective educators to the district. The ­program in Chino Valley, as well as seven similar teacher housing projects in Arizona, is part of a pilot program using funds from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act.


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