PSYCHO seagull stole my dog from garden”. If clickbait headlines were discarded fish and chip wrappers, the Daily Star would be besieged by seagulls.

But can birds really be psychos? When a seagull - a wild bird - hunts for food, albeit too aggressively for our liking, does that mean it has an anti-social personality disorder? Of course it doesn’t. Get real, people.

Yes, it must have been horrible for the Devon family whose miniature chihuahua was snatched by a swooping seagull. But the fall-out from the the Daily Star’s front page report is getting silly. “Is this the “psycho” seagull that snatched a chihuahua? ‘Prime suspect’ pictured on roof” shrieked the Mirror, with a picture of a random gull on someone’s chimney.

“Killer seagull turns cannibal” and “Gull gangs learn new tricks to steal your seafront snacks” cried other headlines - and it could all be silly season nonsense, were it not for the sinister undertones demonising these protected birds.

I’ve had seagulls swirling and swooping around me at the seaside, trying to get my chips, and I’ve had seagull poo in my hair. It didn’t bother me - I expect it if I’m by the sea which is, after all, the gulls’ natural habitat. There’s so much food lying around in seaside towns, it’s hardly surprising that birds are going to target these places.

Humans don’t have a divine right to enjoy the seaside, or anywhere else. We share the planet with birds and wildlife, they’re part of our eco-system and eat to survive. If we insist on filling streets with takeaways and fast food temples, we have to expect seagulls and pigeons to come scavenging. It’s what they do. They’re not “pyschos” or “murderers” (or “terrorists” as one cafe-owner labelled them), they don’t hang out in gangs like delinquent teenagers, singling out old ladies and toddlers clutching ice-creams. And they don’t maliciously target pet dogs. To a wild bird, Gizmo the snatched chihuahua was just prey. Survival of the fittest.

People are getting hysterical about seagulls, whipped into a frenzy by Hitchcockian reporting of a few isolated incidents. Seagulls are used to humans, they’re not timid birds, and people resent that. And this time of year gulls are aggressive because they have young in their nests.

But instead of trying to understand their behaviour, we demonise them, just as we demonise urban foxes, forced out of their natural habitat and left to scavenge in wheelie bins, and magpies, because of superstition and a nursery rhyme.

Gulls are protected by law, yet people throw stones at them, shoot them with air rifles and destroy their nests. Now the RSPB is calling on us to be more understanding of seagulls. Spokeswoman Morwenna Alldis said: “I like a bird with a bit of personality and gulls have that in spades. They’re bombastic, cheeky, opportunistic, intelligent, and if there was a prize for ‘bird parent of the year’, protective urban gull parents would win. But they’re misunderstood. We need to change the way we behave around gulls and try to live harmoniously alongside them.”

Seagulls pinching food is a problem created by humans. Discarded burger cartons, half-eaten kebabs and soggy sausage rolls left on the pavement are easy snacks for gulls, which can’t distinguish between leftovers and the sandwich you’re unwrapping. With a little care and understanding - not feeding gulls, disposing of rubbish properly and limiting urban nesting opportunities - we can tackle this problem. Let’s just calm down, for heaven’s sake.

* SOCIAL enterprise Hey Girls is tackling period poverty by selling sanitary products on a "buy one, give one" basis - for every pack purchased, another is donated to a girl or woman in the UK in need. Its products are now in Co-op stores.

Period poverty is an issue, internationally and in the UK. My friend teaches in a deprived area of our region where some girls barely even have a change of clothes. Free access to sanitary products is essential, particularly for schoolchildren who don't come close to having the necessities others take for granted.

* THE old ones are the best, according to online toy retailer The Entertainer, which reveals Britain’s top three favourite board games as Monopoly, Scrabble and Snakes and Ladders.

Some of my fondest childhood memories are playing board games and cards. My niece and nephews have always enjoyed them too, and even now, in their teens and early 20s, they'll happily put their phones aside for a round of rummy, Monopoly, even quaint old-fashioned games like pick-up sticks. We recently went from The Golden Egg (an old, beloved children's card game I used to play with my Gran) to Cards Against Humanity (not for the easily offended, to put it mildly) in one sitting, which probably says a lot about the inter-generational pull of a pack of cards.