12 years after John Sumner rescued a seagull, he still enjoys visits from the bird almost daily. The pair have created a bond that crosses seas and will probably last a lifetime.
Sumner first saw Chirpy, the seagull, with a broken leg on the beach of Instow near Yelland, Devon. He felt bad for the bird, as he was screaming in pain from the injury. In an interview he stated, “I saw him screaming and shouting above my head in agony and I did not know what to do.” To help Chirpy, Sumner fed him dog biscuits that he had for his pet that he was walking, Jack. Slowly, Chirpy’s leg healed and he could fly without pain. Every day since then, Chirpy and Sumner spend some time together on the beach.
Chripy is believed to be around 20 years old now, and he still flies to Sumner almost daily. In March, during the colder season, Chirpy flies off to do his seagull thing, and he’s back on the beach with Sumner in September after the nesting season. He’s sure that it’s his seagull every time because Chirpy has a very distinct black pattern on his head, and he’s the only bird that will approach a human without fear. Chirpy tries to encourage his other seagull friends to say hi to Sumner, but they’re all too shy of the human.
Chirpy doesn’t approach any other person other than Sumner—showing that they truly have a special bond. On the beach, one can see Chirpy hovering around Sumner as he walks down the beach; sometimes, they even play together.
Sumner stated in an interview that, “people are aghast when I tell them, they can’t believe a seagull would come back like that. It makes you wonder what kind of world we actually are in – do they know more than we think they know?”
Birds form close bonds with each other, and they are capable of creating these bonds with humans—evidenced by pet birds who grow very close to their owners. Starting with a broken leg and some dog biscuits, Sumner and Chirpy’s bond will surely last a lifetime.