Helpful news for this summer on the beach at Lake Michigan:

The University of Exeter in the UK does a lot of research on human-seagull interaction. According to new research, they've just discovered that seagulls prefer food you've touched. And research they did last year reveals how to back them off.

Enter your number to get our free mobile app

Picture yourself at the beach - Grand Haven, the Dunes, Petoskey State Park. You're chowing down on your picnic lunch and you have seagulls getting a little too close - waiting for you to drop a piece of food. According to the BBC and the research,

when presented with a choice between the treats, 79% of the gulls opted for items they had seen in human hands.

Well, yeah - why eat trash and rotten fish when you can chow down on fresh KFC?

And the research shows - they're always watching.

Tony Whitehead, from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), told the BBC the results of the experiment were "fascinating." "What stood out for me was just how observant these birds are," he said.

So, how do you deal with creepy seagulls coveting your french fries? Last year the University of Exeter published a paper, saying, “It seems that just watching the gulls will reduce the chance of them snatching your food.” Adding, "On average, gulls took 21 seconds longer to approach the food with a human staring at them."

So, be strong, Michigan. Stare those gulls down. That's YOUR chalupa.

Here's the story.