When I was eight years old I found a young seagull on the beach not far from our house. It couldn’t have been hatched for very long, but it had legs, and could it run. It took me about half an hour to catch it. There were no adult birds around after petting it for a while no mother came to get it. I took it home. A big argument started. Mom said, “You are not keeping that gull in the house.” After a few sad stories, Mom said, “Keep it in a cardboard box overnight and let it go tomorrow.”
It was such a soft, fluffy little creature it didn’t take long for the gull to latch on to me. I was always petting it and feeding it. The next day another fuss was made about keeping the gull for a pet. I was allowed to keep it in the barn. I would take it outdoors and it would follow me everywhere. If I sat down it would get quite close and sit down, too. It looked as if I was going to be able to keep it. I wanted to give it a name so I called her “Biddy.”
My father warned me that they grow very rapidly and would have to have live fish so it could go back to the wilds. My brother and I knew we could catch lots of perch down by the wharf. We would take a pail, fill it with water and very carefully took the hooks out of the fish’s mouths so they would live. When we caught a half pail full we ran home and dumped them into a large tin washtub. The water was too deep and she was slow learning to swim. We would take a fish out and hold it in our hands for her. She would eat every one.
By the time she was about six months old my brother and I felt she should learn to fly. We tried all the silly things. At first it didn’t help so my brother got a ladder and put it up against the barn, took Biddy up with us and we held her over and fly to ground, not very gracefully – her landing was very bad. We kept it up a little each day until she finally took off – she would fly around short trips and come to the washtub and squat until she had her fresh fish.
About 9 a.m. one morning she took off and I called and called. She didn’t come back. I was feeling very sad imagining all the things that could happen to her. At lunch my father came home, when one of the pilots who Papa used to take out in the pilot boat to bring the big ships into the harbour, came to tell him about Biddy.
This pilot and his wife had one of the most tidiest clean properties in town. It had a verandah right across the front of their house and somehow Biddy got in and couldn’t find her way, and she plopped all over the lady’s clean verandah. This is why the pilot was talking to my father. Then the order came, “Go get that gull off the verandah and take a pail and scrubbing brush and wash that verandah ‘till it pleases the owner.” I finally got it washed and cleaned, then rinsed with water from her well, but she insisted that I dry it before I leave. It seems I almost spent the whole day cleaning after Biddy.
Biddy started to fly out with the adult seagulls. She was still in grey and brown feathers. If I called her she would come in to eat and go back. Finally when mating season came Biddy left for good. Every time I saw a Grey gull close I would think it was Biddy and call her but she didn’t come back.
It was lonely after having Biddy. I missed her so much but always hecked every gull for years. It takes a long time for the feathers to turn white.
Biddy gave me many happy hours as I had my very own pet.


EXSENO said…
Ah, this is sweet but sad and happy (for the gull) at the same time.
Miss P. said…
I was adopted by a human 17 years ago and cannot fly at all, cuz I can't stretch one of my wings. I was a baby then, so I'm really a 17 years old herring gull. Gulls disabled like that are most likely to be put to death. So it's better to have a pet like this, than having caught a parrot somewhere which could get along fine in wild. So, if you have such big heart for seagulls: why not adopt one that can't live in wild?

I wouldn't have gotten 17 years old, if I wouldn't feel fine! Check out our (my human mom and me) blog, it is on blogspot too. During the St. Francis day week we were in church 2 times and I got even blessed by a pastor.
Gary LeDrew said…
This story was written by mother many long years ago and she is long dead too. I have a gull i feed most days but we are not close
Miss P. said…
She doesn't need you, because on the whole she can get by. But if they can't they appreciate good care.

In case somebody is looking for advice: May I add this new PDF-link? It contains pictures of a practical way.


The story of your mother is very touching!

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