Venice’s infamous seagulls continue to cause havoc to travelers’ plans.
Venice’s Marco Polo International Airport was forced to ground departures and divert arrivals for about an hour on Friday because of a flock of seagulls hanging around the airport.
The airport, which is the main hub for inbound flights to Venice, was forced to ground flights starting at about 9:45 a.m. local time on Friday morning because of worries over bird strikes during take-off and landing.
The incident impacted a number of flights, with arrivals being diverted to nearby airports including Treviso, Verona, and Milan, and at least 10 departures and 4 arrivals canceled. The airport apologized to travelers on Friday during the incident.
Venice’s seagulls have a big reputation amongst travelers and locals, and for good reason. Seagulls have long targeted tourists in the city, snatching food out of tourists’ plates, and generally causing mayhem for anyone trying to eat outside. One incident included a seagull flying off with an entire steak, just as a waiter lifted the lid off the plate, according to Euronews.
The seagulls in Venice are a protected species, so only humane methods of dealing with them are approved.
Last year, some hoteliers started issuing orange water pistols to guests to use to fend off the aggressive birds, a strategy that was developed by the Venice Hoteliers Association. In the past, the Association has also tried other methods to deal with the gulls, including employing fake-owl statues, discouraging smells (garlic) and sound, and, in one instance, a falcon.