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Monday, November 2, 2009

Water, Water Everywhere

While walking along the Edmonds waterfront today I noticed a Western Gull resting on top of a light pole along one of the marina docks.  Most of the gulls in the marina are used to being in close proximity to humans.  They usually don't get nervous unless a person stops and focuses their attention on them.  Since I was on a walkway up above the docks, the light pole put the gull nearly at my eye level.  I did my best not to look directly at him as I walked by because I didn't want to disturb him from his rest.  Just as I passed him though, in my peripheral vision I saw him shift position.  I continued on and looked back only when I felt I had put enough distance between myself and the bird that he would not be made uncomfortable.

When I looked back, the gull was standing on one leg on top of the light.  This is not an unusual posture for gulls, but as he tried to put his other foot down, it clearly caused him pain.  He tipped forward off of the light and extended his wings to arrest his fall.  He made a soft, one-point landing on a nearby dock and then began to hobble in my direction, alternating between good foot and bad.  I knew he wasn't interested in me as I was above him and he never once looked in my direction, but he was moving with a purpose and he had piqued my curiosity.  As I continued to watch, the gull walked up to one of the water spigots on the dock that are there for the boaters to use.  I noticed that the spigot was dripping.  Clearly, the gull had noticed this long before I did.

I couldn't help but smile as the gull stuck his beak under the faucet and began to catch the fresh water droplets that were leaking out at about one second intervals.  Occasionally he glanced up at me with a droplet hanging from his bill, and then he returned to drinking.  After snapping a few photographs to commemorate the moment, I walked on, leaving the still drinking gull to finish quenching his thirst.  I hoped that his foot would soon heal, and that he would enjoy sipping from leaky faucets for many years to come.           


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