The following is my partial summary of a June 15 Yonhap News article entitled, "Dokdo Emergency! 10,000 Seagulls Attack with 'Shit Bombs'":
A force of more than 10,000 black-tailed gulls are relentlessly attacking Dokdo with "Shit Bombs." Many of the attackers have already landed on the island while squadrons of others seem to be flying cover around it. It is also reported that about 100 of the seagulls broke off from the main force and attacked a Korean sightseeing boat in the area, sending passengers scrambling for cover amid screams of "Yuck." Fortunately, no passengers were seriously hurt, but Dokdo is now covered with white, acidic poop, which causes concern for scientists who worry about the environmental impact of this nasty, unprovoked attack.(By the way, I was surprised by the lack of "bird shit" photos on the Internet.)
Here is my translation of the Yonhap article:
"Dokdo Emergency! 10,000 Seagulls Attack with Shit Bombs"
Yonhap News 2007 June 15 (Fri) 12:00 p.m.
(Dokdo = Yonhap News) Reporter Kim Hye-mi = Dokdo is experiencing an emergency because more than 10,000 black-tailed gulls are ceaselessly firing "shit bombs."
At about 7:30 a.m. on the 13th, a research team from the Ministry of the Environment and Gyeongbuk University, together with reporters, left to conduct an ecological survey of Dokdo. At Ulleungdo's Dodong Harbor, they boarded the sightseeing vessel, Sambong, and traveled for two and a half hours and 200 ri (87.4 km) to arrive at Dokdo, which stood up out of the East Sea like a mysterious island.
The waves were too high to disembark, so people just stood on the deck as the ship circled once around the island. Black-tailed gulls were not only sitting in flocks on the East and West Islands, they were also sitting on Chotdae Rock. Part of them were circling the island as if providing (air) cover. The more than 100 gulls that were flying over the ship in an attempt to snatch away crackers relentlessly speckled the deck white with "shit bombs." Here and there passengers could be heard crying, "Yuck!"
The passengers could simply wipe off the excrement and be done with it, but Dokdo was another problem.
According to Bak Heu-cheon, Director of the Bird Research Center at Gyeongbuk University, Dokdo is an important bird-breeding area and a rest stop for birds moving in a north-south direction over the East Sea. He explained that black-tailed gulls are medium-sized gulls about 45 cm long with wings about 34 ~ 39 cm long. He said that between May and August, they flock to Dokdo to build nests and breed. They lay four to five eggs in one nest.
The white excrement of the gulls can now be seen all over the island. The research team explained that the acid-content (uric acid) of the excrement was so strong that if it concentrates on the groud, it makes it difficult for plants to grow.
Director Bak said, "Recently the breeding season started, so as the birds increased to more than 10,000 in number, the amount of excrement has also shot up." He said, "The situation has gotten to where the black-tailed gulls have virtually taken over Dokdo, with only one or two birds from each of the other species on the island, including white herons.
He said, "In areas where there are many white herons, it has been confirmed that black oak and pine trees die from the excrement, but the soil on Dokdo is barren, so there are almost no trees." He added, "If the excrement of the black-tailed gulls accumulates, the possibility that it may affect vegetation is great, so a precise study of what effects it has on the grass is needed."
Director Bak said, "Dokdo plays a very important role as a breeding grounds for black-tailed gulls, so we need to do something quickly to artificially reduce the population of the birds." He stressed, "We need to consider a long-term, comprehensive plan that takes into account things like Dokdo's ecology and the changing weather."