A Sad Start to the Year

Generally speaking, this is a feel-good blog. I’m typically posting when something interesting, exciting, or just fun is happening. Today, unfortunately, is the exception. This morning Tricia and I headed over to the Beacon waterfront; I was hoping for gulls even though I know that early in the day is typically a bust for gulls on the river. As expected, it was very quiet at Long Dock Park when we arrived. Just a handful of Ring-billed Gulls around, and some Common Mergansers and a Great Black-backed Gull way out on the river.

~iPhone shot of the Iceland Gull in Beacon NY, 01/02/22.~

We walked out by the kayak launch, and at the end of the dock there was a single gull. It was a first winter ICELAND GULL, but, it was in some sort of distress. It was very messy looking and kept either trying to call or regurgitate something but was not having any luck. As I watched, a young child ran near the bird and it did not fly, it just slowly walked away.

~Debbie van Zyl brings the carrier to me. Long Dock Park, Beacon NY 01/02/22. Photo by Tricia Zeitler.~

I went to my car to get my carrier (it’s for my gear, but also perfect for bird rescue). When I returned, Debbie van Zyl was with the bird and she helped me capture the bird, which actually proved to be quite easy, an indication of the condition of the bird. Tricia and I drove the bird to the veterinary hospital, where it was going to be picked up by the rehabber. We headed home, hoping for the best. Unfortunately, not too long after arriving home, I received word that the bird did not make it. We know that a high percentage of gulls don’t make it through their first year, that’s just natural, but it’s heartbreaking to be invested and to witness it up close and personal like that. May that bird rest in peace.

~Poor dude. Rest in peace, Iceland Gull.~

16 thoughts on “A Sad Start to the Year”

  1. So kind of you to try and save him. It’s so upsetting to see a creature suffer. Terrible start to your day and I’m sure it put a damper on your entire day.

    1. Yes, Mary, it certainly put a damper on things. I drove around the black dirt in the afternoon and looked through geese as a distraction and that seemed to help. Matt

  2. Even though it’s a sad story, I’m glad that you tried to save the gull. So good of you!

    1. Norma, I am glad too. It was a good effort, but unfortunately this one didn’t have a happy ending. Thanks for checking in. Matt

  3. Hi Matt,
    I saw the early posting about the gull acting ill and in a short time I saw Annie Mardiney;s name being used. That gave me reason for hope because God bless Annie, she works real miracles with our feathered friends EVERY day without fail. Reading your report and seeing the photo of your retrieving the ill gull made me think, “Yes that’s Matt and his commitment to an ill bird”. That IS you, your character and your level of concern. The sadness, of course, is that this time the ending is not what we would want. We have all had those situations but the hope for a preferred result is what keeps us doing what is right in each case. You set a grand example for us all and I thank you for that. Keep smiling. The next one is coming.

    1. I was thinking of something to write and then read Ken’s words. I think he nails it and will take the easy route here and say “ditto”.

    1. Thanks for checking in Deb, I realized that I failed to thank Debbie for her help as well, so thanks Debbie if you are seeing this. Matt

  4. Matt – I’ve followed you for years now – I enjoy your adventures and fabulous photos. Years ago I contacted you for permission to paint from your photos – one thing lead to another and I didn’t really follow through & now I’m in South Carolina since last August (retired after many years of teaching art in the Goshen school district) but still enjoy reading your blog – I can picture most of the locations you mention and enjoy your enthusiasm. For the last few years my paintings have focused on nature and a percentage of my sales is contributed to organizations that support nature – Audubon being one of them. My goal is to paint more and sell more and raise more funds in the future. I will continue to enjoy your blog and if you’d like to check out my progress – it’s karenrichardsartist on Instagram

    1. Thanks for checking in Karen, and for sticking with the blog all these years. I tried to find you on Instagram, but could not find you. Maybe look me up (orange birding on insta) and we can connect that way? I’d love to see your work. Happy New Year. Matt

      1. Thanks for your reply – I found and am now following you on Instagram & Yup – I did it again – got my email and insta mixed up – on ista I’m actually

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