A century ago, when gull's eggs were everyday food in Britain, no rules governed their gathering. Typically, urchins would wade through marshes or scramble along beachfront cliffs (some seagulls nest in rather precarious locations), pocket the goods, and sell them—tuppence for a nest's worth. Environmentalists today, however, believing that the birds need protection, have imposed limits on the harvest of their eggs. Each season, for example, only 10,000 gull's eggs may be gathered from Earl Haig's estate, near Melrose in southeastern Scotland. "You could easily take twice that number without the gulls noticing," says Alex Aitken, owner of Le Poussin, a restaurant in the New Forest, about 100 miles south of London. "The important thing is to collect the eggs daily so that they don't become addled. And always leave a clutch to hatch so that the gulls will come back next year."