Thursday, 4 July 2013

Seagull drama and chick rescue

Doesn't everyone hope for a nice peaceful Sunday, to sit around and relax in the sunshine or do some gardening, read a book, drink some wine? Well I did, but it's not how the day turned out!

A seagull drama unfolded with the Douglas Family.


Here are two of the three Douglas chicks in my cat carrier in the garage, after being rescued from the gutter.

The parents started to attack the chicks on Sunday morning and it was all I could hear during the day. In the end I had to go inside for a while. We don't know why it happened but believe they decided three was too many to feed and thinned them out...horrible but probably happens a lot in the animal world!

These poor little things were thrown about the rooftop and eventually fell into the gutter one by one. Even when they tried to go back up to mum and dad they were attacked and thrown back down the roof. I felt sick. They found each other and stayed huddled together in the gutter for the rest of the day.

My neighbour phoned that evening to see if we could come up with a plan to rescue them. They had been abandoned, but we just needed to be sure ourselves, so after all day in the gutter we knew. I went round to see the owners of the house (luckily it's a bungalow) to see if they would allow me to go up and get them. We would then sort out what to do with them in the morning.

I have to say the owners were great and so friendly and helpful. In fact the owner went up the ladder himself and passed them down to us. A big thank you to them.

The chicks were traumatised and stayed huddled together that night, but in the morning they were much brighter. I cleaned out the carrier and gave them more water and cat food which they tucked into straight away.

We found a lovely animal sanctuary in Torquay who take in seagulls and they had room. So off we went to The Firsland Animal Sanctuary where we met Maxine Corbitt and all her charges. It's a small holding in the countryside. Maxine is no rich lady, she pays for most of the feed and bedding herself. She looks after over 170 animals including ducks, chickens, geese, goats, horses, pigs, rabitts, cats and dogs and of course baby seagulls.

Maxine showed us into the seagull chick barn...and there were 18 other little fluffy grey chicks all either running about, sleeping or snuggled up to each other. I wish I'd had my camera, it was a lovely sight. They were all clean and had lovely straw bedding, food and water.  Our two Douglas chicks ran over to the safety of the others and snuggled up.

Maxine will let them into the yard later on when they are bigger, where they can run about and wing-flap and get used to the outside world. There are other fully grown seagulls to help them along and eventually they fly off when they are ready.

My neighbour makes cards so will sell some and donate the money to the sanctuary and since I'm no good at making anything I have set up a standing order for a small amount each month. Hopefully it will help with the staggering £1,250 per month it costs just to keep the sanctuary going.

I can't praise people enough who do this, so I'm thinking about other ways I could help. When I saw all those chickens and seagull chicks my heart was lifted to think that there are such good people in the world.

We are keeping an eye on chick number three who's still on the roof with the parents and being fed.


8 comments:

  1. Wow, that's some story. BAD parents! So good though that you and neighbours came to the rescue and these little chicks now have safety! Suzy xx

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    1. I know there are probably enough herring gulls in the world but we could not leave them in the gutter to die...they looked so helpless and I'd have been too upset to sleep.

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  2. Well done you. Thank goodness it all worked out. Nature can be so hard at times. Fingers crossed for the babies.

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    1. I bet it happens a lot-it's just that we've never seen it before. My neighbour had been seagull watching for years and has never witnessed it. Her seagull family The MDs (who had their first nest detroyed) have just hatched their chicks (we know there's one for sure). So more chick watching-fortunately they dont throw their babies out and are very good patents.

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  3. This was fascinating, Suzie. It does seem strange and so cruel that the parents do this but as you say, there is probably a practical reason for it. Well done for rescuing the chicks. And I agree, people who run these animal sanctuaries when it isn't always easy attracting money do really wonderful work.

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    1. I'll have to look it up to see what other animals do this. As mortality rates are so high, you would think they'd always keep one or two 'in reserve' Maybe these are new parents.

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  4. So sad :( but well done on the rescue and so glad the young seagulls are in a safe place. Very humbling to read of the efforts made by the Rescue Centre - there are some wonderful people helping wildlife.

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    1. Imagine how many more are in that barn now? The remaining chick is doing very well and growing fast.

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