Seagull found with beak ziptied on ‘purpose’
Earlier this month, a struggling seagull had to rely on human intervention in order to survive — and thanks to a Goleta Beach park ranger, the story
has a happy ending.
On the morning of Jan. 2, Kristin Ingalls, a volunteer helpline operator for the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, received a call from two residents
that a seagull had a zip tie tightly on its beak — a purposeful and human action, according to the Network.
“We are confident that the person who zip tied this gull’s beak did it on purpose,” said Claire Garvais, the Wildlife Care Network’s communications
and development coordinator. “The zip tie was fastened too tight for it to have been an accident.”
Ms. Ingalls couldn’t locate any of the network’s volunteers and decided to reach out to Brian Switzer, a park ranger for Santa Barbara County Parks.
Mr. Switzer rushed to Goleta Beach around 9:30 a.m., but couldn’t find the seagull. He informed Ms. Ingalls, but assured her that he’d stay on the lookout.
At 1 p.m. that day, another phone call came in from a concerned citizen, this time indicating that the seagull was back near Goleta Beach’s playground.
Alongside the caller, Mr. Switzer formed a plan that saw them coax the bird with bread crumbs. The seagull attempted to open its beak multiple times to
eat, but couldn’t do so.
With the seagull not able to eat, it took nearly 10 minutes for it to become brave enough to come closer to Mr. Switzer, who used a net to secure it and put into a bird crate.
After taking it back to his office, Mr. Switzer cut off the zip tie and released the gull, which flew away shortly thereafter.
“Brian is the hero! As well as the people who called us,” Ms. Ingalls said.
Ms. Garvais was thankful for Mr. Switzer’s quick thinking.
“SBWCN relies on compassionate individuals to call us when there is an animal in need. We are so glad Brian was able to jump into action to save
this gull’s life. He is a true hero,” Ms. Garvais said.
“We rely on volunteer rescuers to respond to calls for help like this one.”
The Wildlife Care Network is looking for more volunteers and encourages those interested to visit sbwcn.org/volunteer.