layton woman rescues lucky gull

Wednesday , April 02, 2014 - 4:22 PM

Dana Rimington, Standard-Examiner Correspondent

LAYTON — While visiting Layton Commons Park recently, Laura Goble noticed something odd. A sea gull was struggling in the creek that flows through the park, floating face up in the water with its wing hyperextended backward, rendering the bird incapable of flying.

“I’ve been going to that park for 13 years, and have never seen anything like it,” said the 53-year-old from Layton. Goble took a bread bag they were using to feed ducks to put over her hand and removed the bird from the water, letting it rest on a nearby bench with her daughter while Goble spoke to an employee in the Layton City offices, who said someone from the park would come retrieve the bird. After waiting for some time without seeing anyone, Goble went back in to the city offices where she was instructed to just set the bird under a tree.

“I didn’t think it would have a fair chance of making it, especially with the pit bull I saw in the vicinity. I didn’t want it to die, because it is our state bird, so I asked if I could take it from the park to a sanctuary to get it some help,” said Goble. “I thought it should be treated with dignity and respect, getting it nursed back to health.”

Goble took the bird, technically a California gull, to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Ogden. “It’s not that often sea gulls get a ride on the inside of a car,” said Goble. “We’ve rescued a kitten up in a tree, but we’ve never rescued a bird before.”

Layton Parks Supervisor Ryan Pickup said this is only the second time in his 10 years of working for the Layton Parks he has heard of an injured sea gull. “It is very uncommon for us to find a sea gull injured. They are pretty smart birds, doing flybys, getting what they need, and getting out of there,” said Pickup. “Ducks, on the other hand, are used to people feeding them on a daily basis, and it is not uncommon for the ducks to wander, often across the road to the high school.”

Pickup says the biggest problem they have is patrons who are unaware of the city park phone numbers to call when they see an injured animal.

“We work hand in hand with Wildlife Services, being sensitive to the state bird and the ducks in the park,” said Pickup. Park patrons can call the Layton City Parks main number at 801-336-3900 during normal business hours of 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. or the after-hours page number 801-336-3911 if they come upon an injured animal in any of the city parks.

DaLyn Erickson, wildlife specialist at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Ogden, said the California gull Goble brought in had a compound fracture in its wing, which has since been put back into place, and will be in a sling for the next six weeks while the wing heals.

Erickson says its recovery will be a long process with plenty of antibiotics and physical therapy. For the wildlife specialists at the center, sea gulls are common. “We see about 2,000 animals a year, and we almost always have one sea gull at any given time,” said Erickson.

Erickson warned that if anyone comes upon an injured sea gull, to call the Division of Wildlife Resources. “They do have a sharp and strong bite, and you can get injured. We want to make sure no one gets hurt,” said Erickson.

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