May 27, 2012

Time and dedication

A huge THANK YOU! to one of our responders, Akira S. for devoting an entire day trying to help two gulls in the San Francisco area.

One of the gulls has both feet bound by fishing line. We have had little luck capturing him (see blog post HERE). The other gull has a hook in its bill. It was just recently reported to us by San Francisco Animal Control. They, too, have been trying to help capture it.

Here is Akira's account:

So, today, Sunday, Jan and I met up at the staging area shortly before 7 a.m.  After discussing the strategy, we drove to the roadside parking lot west of the Alameda Ferry, where the injured gull has been seen. 
There were few gulls when we started out at about 7:30. The number of gulls slowly increased, and by 9 a.m. there were perhaps > 50 hanging around and waiting for handouts. At the peak, the gulls probably numbered over 100~150 at this location. 
The gull in question showed up at around 10. In flight, the semi-dangling one leg served as a practical means of identification. When it landed, it would land and then immediately sit down flat on the ground (rather than standing), which is noticeable.  
At various points, this gull came as close as maybe 25-30 ft from the bait area, but remained always cautious and never got close enough to attempt a capture with net. The other gulls were also similarly cautious for the most part, all standing around the bait but at a short distance, watching the the bait and me (trying to be as still and acting uninterested). 
The exception, was when "feeding frenzy" condition was started by throwing chips in the air. But the injured gull did not join the "feeding frenzy" 
Complicating factors at this site included cars and bicycles driving in and through the area, disturbing the gulls, causing them to fly up, circle around, then land in different spots. Use of orange cones to temporarily close off some of them may be helpful. 
Another complication was "competition" from other feeders. Also the gulls seemed to recognize regular feeders (not surprisingly). 
The last we saw of the gull with injury was maybe around 11 am., when it picked up what Jan and myself later decided was a full donut tossed from a window of a parked truck. (Later we found an empty box of Krispy Kreme Donuts after the truck drove away.) Other gulls immediately gave chase but didn't succeed in making the gull drop it; the gull escaped toward the water.
We left the area after noon. 
I was at the Palace from about 3:30 to 5 p.m., but unable to locate the gull. Lots of gulls at the rotunda pond, along with a pair of swans with chicks in tow, but not the gull we are after.
Good luck to whoever tries it next time!!  
- Akira 
PS. A cop on horseback asked me if I was going fishing (jokingly), but most seemed to think I was catching butterflies; would have to be a huge one considering I was towing along a pet carrier stuffed into a cart!  

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