Seagull and her family were saved from the auction block by a rural cat-rescuer who just happened to be there when an impoverished family showed up to sell their “pets”—a family of ducks plus several chickens and one turkey, all of whom had been living in a tiny shed—to people who probably would eat them.


A few frantic phone calls later, the friend of felines had saved several birds from slaughter. Perhaps that’s why Seagull herself has never limited her attentions to members of her own species.

Named for her grey-streaked feathers and tendency to perch on poles, Seagull was the most intrepid of the duckling siblings. She grew up into a strikingly self-possessed yet sociable bird.

Seagull goes her own way and doesn’t like to be interfered with, but never hesitates to sneak her beak into other birds’ business, generally for the betterment of everybody.

On several occasions, Seagull has taken on the task of ushering new sanctuary residents into the barn for the night, shadowing them just as a mother might shoo her ducklings in the right direction.

One day, Seagull waded into the fray when a newly arrived rooster, who had been trained by people to be aggressive, started picking on one of the elderly roosters in the front yard. Marching into the middle of the altercation, Seagull said something to each of the roosters in turn and then used her body to walk the aggressor away from the victim, talking to him in a scolding tone the whole time.

Seagull checks on an injured young hen

Our challenge is to be at least as courageous and compassionate in our efforts to repair the damage that our own species has done. If little Seagull is willing to put her body on the line, the least we can do is to follow her lead.