Towards the end of August, 2023 several members of the public made us aware of a young gull (now named Bling), wearing a white and red ring on each leg, that was frequenting the Penzance Promenade and Newlyn Green area.
After reviewing a photo, we knew this gull was not a part of the BTO colour ringing scheme “Project C-Gull” or one of our past patients as these rings are different to the ones the BTO and we use to identify our gulls. We also only ring one leg and remove them before release.
He was showing some concerning behaviours, namely being very comfortable around people, and after a report of him limping we decided he was best brought into our care. We went out to try and find him to get any injury assessed but despite visiting his last know location, and other spots he had been seen visiting, we were not successful.
Luckily, it was only a few hours later that a kind supporter contacted us – she had found him. After a thorough health check on arrival, no limp or injuries that might be resulting in a limp were found – thankfully. However, as mentioned he is very habituated and tame towards humans. We suspect he had been hand reared by a well meaning member of the public and then released with his red and white rings – his “bling”.
Unfortunately, looking after wildlife without the advice of a rescue can be detrimental to the the animal and their survival in the wild; a few issues that result from this include malnutrition from wrong diets and causing unnecessary pain due to missed injuries and illnesses. In Bling’s case, we saw that he had lost his natural fear of humans. This can result in conflict between birds and people as not everyone is kind to wildlife, especially gulls. It was only last year that we had to euthanize an adult gull after being kicked by a man in Mousehole Harbour. Bling also appeared to rely on people for food as he arrived a little skinny and had been seen taking food from the hands of people passing by.
We will now try to teach Bling how to live independently. This can be quite a lengthy activity but he is already showing promising signs after joining a large group of other young gulls after his isolation period was over. He is now flying far more frequently and coming up to staff less often during feeding. He does, however, still like to follow people around. It is very likely Bling will remain with us over winter but we are hopeful something will click, beforehand so that he can be returned to the wild. To keep up to date with Bling’s progress please visit our social media.