July 26th 2016
Today I rescued a dying seagull.
This morning, as I was parking my car on the roof of a multistory car park, I saw a seagull fly into the building window in front of me and bounce straight back off it. The gull landed in a parking bay and lay motionless. The bay it landed in was my usual parking spot. We don’t have assigned work parking, or anything, and the parking facilities are usually pretty empty when I get there, but humans are habitual creatures and after three weeks of driving up to the top floor of the car park I’ve developed a preferential bay. I park there every time it’s free.
But today there was a seagull parked on it’s back in my bay. I felt bad for the stupid thing. I parked in the bay next to it’s body. It was quiet, still, and I assumed dead. I was wrong.
To my surprise, when I returned to my car at lunch to pick up my trainers the gull was alive. It hadn’t moved from it’s reverse prone position on the tarmac, but his head was moving around and he was squawking. I felt momentary relief that he’d survived. The impact must’ve just knocked him out. But I realised that if he’d woken up and not flown away immediately then it meant that he was incapable of flying, which, for a bird, is pretty bad news.
I made a promise to myself that if he was still there when I finished work then I’d take him to the vets. And that’s what I did.
When I returned to him at the end of the work day he had managed to flip himself to be sat upright. Having now seen his front, back, top and bottom, I could tell that there was no blood. I’m pretty sure he’d shit himself, but there was no blood. I Googled local vets, phoned the number given and asked if I could bring in a seagull. When I explained the situation they said they’d be happy to take him, but if he hadn’t moved all day then it sounded pretty bad.
Undeterred, I found a way to get him into my car. I de-attached the inside back panel to my boot and used that as a sort of tray, and lacking in blanket, I bent down and picked him up whilst wrapping him in a tshirt. (I should probably throw that tshirt out) He struggled a bit, and when he was lifted off the ground I think he assumed that he was flying, because he tried to flap his wings before realising that they hurt like fuck. I placed him in the boot for two reasons. 1) It seemed like a more flat, and stable ground on which to keep him steady. 2) I was worried that he was just trolling me and would jump up and fly directly into my face as soon as my speedometer reached 30.
To be fair, my speedo never crept above 15. I crawled the 1.7 miles to the vets so as not to rattle my feathered friend (Who I had named ‘buddy’) too much. To begin with, I could hear him scratching and pecking at the makeshift plastic tray on which he was placed. Soon though, the noises stopped completely. At that point, I panicked. I worried that the stress of the transportation was too much for him. I’ll openly admit that I was talking to him from the drivers seat. “Just one more mile little buddy” “almost there, don’t worry” I reassured both he and I.
When my sat-nav bellowed “enter roundabout and take the third exit”, I panicked that a hard right turn would make him slip off the tray and damage him even more. I still hadn’t heard a peep out of him in over five minutes.
When I got to the vets, hopped out of my car and opened the boot, I was met with relief. SQUAWK. As soon as sunlight returned to him, he started chatting again, and I could breath once more. I was getting oddly attached to the little guy. I am not an emotional, or compassionate person. I’m a selfish, and detached person by nature. But I felt that it was my duty to make the little guy better. And I vowed to do just that.
I carried him into the Vets in my tshirt. I felt only a little bit weird. People were still waiting for appointments for their leashed dogs, and caged cats, and I came strolling in with my pet seagull. The vet quickly took him from me and wrapped him in a towel. She took him behind the counter and into another room. That was the last I saw of him.
From that point my job was done. I’d got him to where he could get help. And now I was helpless. My only job was to fill out a form that detailed slightly more about his injuries. I documented what I knew, which was a reasonable amount considering I’d seen the accident, and monitored his progress during the day. And, there was no blood. I jotted down my contact number and ticked the box that said “Would you like to receive updates on the animal’s recovery?” I questioned the wording of the depressing parenthesis after the question mark which said “If applicable”
I’ll admit that I skimmed over the box that said “Would you like to make a donation to the funding of the animal’s wellbeing?”
Now we wait. The vet said that they’ll let me know if Buddy survives, so I’ll be expecting a phone call.
I don’t know why I had to save him, I just did, and I’m glad I did. I felt obligated because I saw it happen, and it happened in my parking spot, and because I wanted to. Gulls are not majestic animals, or wondrous birds. They’re the pigeons of the sea, but I couldn’t just leave it to die.
I really hope he survives.
Until tomorrow, stay strong little Buddy.