While jogging on the beach last week I noticed a seagull standing alone, further up on the beach than the other seagulls that were all eating big crabs left over from high tide at the water line. As I ran past I realized that he was holding his foot up, just resting his toe on the sand. A fishing line with a small metal weight was wrapped around his ankle.
“Shit.” I crouched down near him and attempted to sneak close enough to grab him. I slowly took off my jacket to throw over his head if I got close enough. That’s how I grabbed a seagull with a torn wing once. I hoped that maybe he couldn’t fly so I could grab him easier and get him to a rescue. As I took two more little steps he flapped his wings and flew away.
“Dang it!” I tried to follow him with my eyes but there were so many birds, I lost track of him. I continued running down the beach, keeping my eyes peeled for him. I did not see him the entire length of the beach and had given up hope until I stopped at the base of the trail leading back up to the road and saw a lone seagull sitting quietly in the deep sand. He stood up as I snuck closer revealing the fishing line on his ankle.
He side eyed me suspiciously. “Hey Bub, let me help you.” I treated him like a housecat. I sat near him but totally ignored him hoping he’d let me get close enough to help. Minutes passed. I wished I had some crackers or pieces of crab. Finally he’d had enough of me and flapped his wings and disappeared over the cliffs..
“Dang it!” I ran back up to my truck to grab a big towel and some old stale crackers. I ran back down to the beach to look for him. I walked the beach with my crackers and my towel till it started to get dark but he was gone.
I worried about his leg hurting him. The stress he must have felt being weighed down like that. I fretted about his ability to swim with a weight on his ankle. Would other seagulls begin to beat him up, sensing he was struggling? There was nothing more to do but hope that a fisherman with a sharp knife or a bird lover would see him soon and be lucky enough to grab him.