Feb 6, 2023
A recent blizzard in Buffalo, New York, covered the city in snow and ice, trapping families in their homes. For most, it meant a few days of staying inside to keep warm. The wildlife of the Niagara River region couldn’t, though. Many of the seagulls that live on the shores were trapped in ice. They could have died.
"They were just frozen into it,” Seamus Gallivan told The Buffalo News. He walked by the waterfront and saw the trapped birds. “Some of them … their heads were sticking out. You could see parts of their bodies. And they were still and calm. I don't know if they're used to cold? Maybe they know how to conserve their heat. But they're still encased in ice. They were in trouble."
Gallivan and others rushed to get tools. Some found chisels. Others, hammers. A few even used kitchen tools. Soon, a careful group of volunteers met up to free the seagulls.
Chipping away at the ice, Gallivan and the others were able to free 16 gulls. The birds were lethargic at first, but with a little coaxing, they managed to fly off.
As news spread on social media of the rescue efforts, more people tried to join. Another volunteer, Tom Kerr of the Buffalo Audubon Society, warned them to stay home, though. “It’s really icy,” he reported.
Still, Gallivan, Kerr, and the rest were happy to have made a difference. "This wasn't the rescue of the century," Kerr said. "But everybody needs love."
Photo by Wilmy van Ulft courtesy of Unsplash.
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