Spring watch

I went for a walk just before sunset today: a perfect spring evening, blue sky with a few clouds moving in, scent of lilacs in the air, the trees covered with new leaves.

Partway across the bridge to Pope’s Island there was a juvenile gull on the sidewalk. I thought it must be freshly dead because its eyes had been picked out yet; but then it moved its head slightly when I walked past it. Juvenile gulls are hard to identify, but I’d guess this was a first-year Greater Black-backed Gull.

It was still there when I walked back home. Again, it barely moved its head, cringing slightly, when I walked past. It must be in poor health if it sits on the edge of a sidewalk along a well-traveled four-lane road, and doesn’t even get up to walk away when a human approaches it. They say eighty percent of gulls die within a year of being born, and I’d say that gull was right on track for being part of that eighty percent.

2 thoughts on “Spring watch

  1. Jean

    Poor guy. Birds have a hard life. There is a mother goose outside my office window, on the roof, who seems to have lost her babies (that were born a couple of weeks ago). She looks lost, bereft, confused. Last week she tapped on my window with her beak as if summoning me to come help.

  2. Centers and Squares

    I didn’t know the mortality statistics for gulls and would never have thought their odds were so poor. Last year I was driving through Cambridge and came across a large bird walking down the middle of a busy street. He could fly, but not well, and preferred to “run” right down the middle of the street on the yellow line. I followed him for a bit while trying to reach Animal Control but eventually gave up as he trundled away down the street. When I spoke to Audubon the next day and looked at photos online we decided he was an immature gull. Poor guy!

    I stumbled upon your blog by searching for UU blogs and am enjoying your posts (the late nights writing and the allure of indexing rang bells for me). Best of luck with your West Coast endeavors.


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