What a mouth-full. Seagull steals food from a puffin mid-flight

Not content with stealing food from children and gnawing at roadkill, greedy gulls are now pilfering food out of the mouths of hungry puffins, while they are mid-flight.

When a paternal puffin came back from the sea with a beak full of sand eels for its newly hatched chicks, the last thing it expected was for a gull to whisk them away.

The puffin cant even escape in the air with the gull swooping down and stealing the food from the mouth of the puffin

The puffin cant even escape in the air with the gull swooping down and stealing the food from the mouth of the puffin

The cheeky gull, identified as the black headed species, was caught taking the puffin’s lunch by Bill Doherty, 60, from Ashington, Northumberland, a learning disability service manager and keen amateur photographer.

The incident took place on the Farne Islands National Nature Reserve, where puffins regularly come to hatch their young. Unfortunately, the gulls have cottoned on and now lie in wait.

The puffin cant even escape in the air with the gull swooping down and stealing the food from the mouth of the puffin

The puffin cant even escape in the air with the gull swooping down and stealing the food from the mouth of the puffin

Bill, who has been visiting the Farne Islands to photographer the wildlife for over a decade, said it was something that he had never come across in all his trips.

Bill said: “I having been visiting the Farne Islands every year for the past 13 years and I have never seen something like this before. The puffins are the main thing that I go to photograph.

The puffin tries to run away from the gull and takes to fly away

The puffin tries to run away from the gull and takes to fly away

“Nowadays the gulls are waiting for the puffins to come back with silver eels for their chicks and the gulls are waiting to take the food off them.

“It looks like the puffins have to run the gauntlet every time they come back from hunting.

The gulls ambush the poor puffin

The gulls ambush the poor puffin

Bill who has won an award from the wildlife and game conservation trust, said that he the number of gulls prowling the islands has increased

dramatically in the most recent visits that he has made to the islands.

The gulls ambush the poor puffin

The gulls ambush the poor puffin

Bill said: “The gulls going for the food the puffins have does seem to be something that I have noticed in the last couple of years.

“There are also more and more gulls living on the island.

The puffin is left hungry and unable to feed her young

The puffin is left hungry and unable to feed her young

“The gulls have one easy food source because the puffins are doing the hard work and doing it for them.”