To the editor:
Nathaniel Johnson's letter about a wounded seagull (the Times, Monday, May 28) prompted me to write this story.
It happened many years ago, but the message is true today.
I had just gone to Granite Pier in Rockport to bail out my skiff, row out to my boat, run the engine and do a pump check. Upon returning to the float to secure my skiff, I noticed a seagull on the end of the float.
It had clearly seen better days. The bird had a mono fishing line from its webbed foot up around its beak, which prevented it from flying, swimming properly, or eating.
I drove home to Pigeon Hill Street, went into the house and said to Lisa, now my wife, "Grab a blanket, we are going back to the pier to help a seagull." Well, I guess by my tone of voice and eye contact, she knew this was a time to grab a blanket. We jumped in the truck and returned to the pier.
The bird was still there and we threw a blanket over it. We had brought a set of nail clippers, a wire cutter and a few other tools. I flipped the bird over and it had a hook through its foot with the fishing line up and around its beak, and the line was even threaded through the nostril holes in the beak.
Lisa cut and removed the hook from the foot and I carefully maneuvered the bird so she could use the nail clippers to cut the line in the nostril holes and unwind the line from its beak.
After we had finished I plopped it into the water. It did not fly away, it just swam away, perhaps having injuries we did not know about, or just happy to be able to swim properly.
We do not know if that bird survived.
Why, you might ask, did we go through the trouble? After all, it was just a seagull.
The bird could not swim properly, it could not fly and it could not eat. We wanted the bird to have something we all need — the chance to die with a bit of dignity.