This gull, sadly, did not make it. From a beach away it was obvious this bird was in big trouble. But at close range, it became clear this poor soul had lost it’s wing entirely. A wild bird without a wing is a tough thing to contemplate.
Intervening and assisting a wild bird with a hook in its beak or some plastic wrapped around its leg is an easy call to make. An Amateur Avian Ambulatory Adventure is just part of life at the beach. But carting a bird off to certain euthanasia becomes a twisted ethical matter with deep uncertainties and no real answers regarding what’s the right thing to do.
First there are issues of when euthanasia is called for and when it isn’t. Various experts will have as many differences here as they might have tastes in beverages. A wild bird without a wing though is pretty much unthinkable across the board, unless of course someone is willing to keep the bird captive in perpetuity. Not likely for a humble beach chicken.
But the far trickier issue is that of predation. The circle of life is alive and well in this world, and a sick or injured anything is usually the sustenance of something else. Who lost a meal, or at least some nutrients, that might have been gained by this unlucky bird’s demise? Nature always seems a bit harsh when held up to our sensitive contemplation, yet there is a purpose & a logic to it which is well evidenced by it’s success at keeping itself going.
For better or worse, I could not leave this bird to suffer and brought him to the good folks at the Barnegat Animal Clinic who took his pain away, forever.
Rest in peace my friend. With all my heart I pray I’ve done you right, and done the world right too. Life is chronic uncertainty; each day you just do your best and keep flying forward.