On the face of it yes, as there doesn't appear to have been any research into this and it’s just someone’s view. But seagulls are smart and other smart birds have the ability to remember the faces of humans for decades, so it seems perfectly sensible to suggest that seagulls could tell men and women apart. But what about using some crazy foraging behaviour?
It turns out that there is actually precedent for targeting a subset of a population to steal food from. Fork-tailed drongos, amazingly acrobatic birds that have a dual impact on other species: they can act as a sentinel system, allowing others to spend more time foraging, and alerting them when predators are near but they can also make false alarms and steal food. So, there is a both a cost and a benefit to having these duplicitous birds around. I’ve blogged about some of the cool interactions of drongos before. Drongos follow pied babblers, with smaller babbler groups paying more attention to their sentinel behaviour than larger ones. The interesting thing is that within pied babbler groups some individuals respond more to drongo alarm calls than others, with juvenile birds more likely to respond. Drongos will actually preferentially target these juvenile birds, making their stealing more efficient. This is really similar to what the Mail suggests is happening on British beaches.
However, it still needs to be researched. So if anyone wants to fund me to go to the beach to collect data and run experiments…..
The above research is published in Ridley & Child (2009) Behav Ecol Sociobiol 63:1119-1126
Other cool drongo papers:
Flower & Gribble (2012)
Flower et al. (2014)