By Deanna Barth
As part of my "Friday Rounds", looking for injured birds, I pulled into the parking lot of Lake El Estero in Monterey.
All of the waterfowl and gulls were resting at the water’s edge. I scanned the group with binoculars and didn’t see any obvious injuries.
Then, I approached the group slowly, applying enough pressure to encourage each bird to stand so that I could check its legs as well.
Each stood and walked off…..except one.
It was resting on the gravel pathway and with me standing just a few feet away, it didn’t even flinch.
I crouched down to get a better look and realized the problem. It's right eye was so badly infected - there was so much discharge it couldn’t see me. At least not from that eye.
I took a step forward and it immediately cocked its head to one side on full alert!
I moved again, as quietly as I could, and its head twisted back and forth trying to figure out where I was.
That’s when I removed my shoes so they wouldn’t crunch on the gravel, and tip-toed in my socks, making sure to stay on the bird’s right side. When I was comfortably within arms reach, I rested my hand on its back and applied just enough downward pressure to restrain it, then grabbed hold of its head and bill.
I transferred it to the SPCA wildlife center and it’s scheduled to be evaluated by a veterinary ophthalmologist.
Knowing how vulnerable this bird would be to predators, people or dogs in the park, I was happy that I picked it up.