So I’d just started walking Ava this morning on the trail that winds through town. And a seagull, with obvious deliberation, circles overhead and comes to a landing three feet in front of Ava’s jaws. Then starts walking toward her.
Ava has a killer prey drive and has sometimes snatched at birds, cats, and in one case a Chihuahua before I could snatch her back. In this case, though, she was completely nonplussed. She looked at me for guidance. I looked at the gull’s sharp, pointy beak. We both made a long, slow arc around the bird and kept on walking.
Birdo followed. We picked up our pace. Eventually he fell behind.
But he was there again when we returned, and this time followed us all the way to the car, which was parked in a field next to a seafood processing plant. I got behind the wheel. The bird stood there looking at me. He seemed uninjured, but lost, hungry (repeatedly opening his mouth wide like a baby bird in a nest), and far too trusting of mammalian critters. His left leg bore a tiny blue band.
I dialed Furrydoc. “What do you know about seagulls?”
We came to the same conclusion: that this bird had been released (perhaps prematurely) from a rescue, and dropped near the seafood plant in hopes it would learn to feed itself. So far, not so good. It was no more than 100 yards from a seagull’s idea of a banquet and not getting the message.
Furrydoc gave me the names of two nearby wildlife rescues. I called and left voicemails, but got no humans.
I knew it wasn’t the most responsible thing to feed the poor guy. But I went home, got a slice of bread, and came back to find Birdo right where we’d left him. Creating a bread-crumb trail, which he eagerly, at first frantically, gobbled, I lured him to a pile of leavings from the seafood processor, dropped the rest of the bread on the heap, and walked off quickly. I figured he’d realize he’d found seagull paradise and stay there, plucking at seafood bits.
But nope. By the time I was back at the car … so was Birdo, following at my heels.
I left him there and am now home awaiting calls from people who understand what goes on in the tiny brains of gulls. I know in theory he’s got to learn to survive on his own — or not. But damn, it felt like leaving a kitten or a puppy to fend for itself.
That was definitely the strangest thing that’s happened to me in a while. And just this morning, idling before going out into the cool mist, I’d been reading an article about Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone and had placed a library hold on a biography of the man.