The San Diego Humane Society released a Western Gull back into the wild Monday, 33 days after it arrived with a broken bone and wound from a BB.
The gull was received by the San Diego Humane Society's Pilar & Chuck Bahde Wildlife Center on Jan. 21. One of SDHS's humane law enforcement officers picked up the bird on the beach that morning with an injured wing.
X-rays showed a fractured right ulna -- one of the wing bones -- and a BB pellet present at the fracture location. Wildlife veterinarians surgically removed the pellet to allow the ulnar bone to heal appropriately.
During rehabilitation, the bird was in a wing wrap for 24 days while receiving regular physical therapy. According to SDHS, the goal was to build a strong enough callus at the fracture site for the wrap to be left off. The gull then graduated to an outdoor flight cage, where he spent eight days conditioning and gaining strength, eventually showing the veterinary team that he was able to fly adequately for release.
Photos: BB Grounds San Diego Gull
The bird was released in Oceanside on the beach, south of Strand Beach, almost exactly where he was initially picked up.
During the release, the gull hopped onto a wildlife veterinarian's head, knocking off his GoPro camera -- leaving SDHS with nothing but a shot of the sand.
"Our veterinarian assures us, though, it was great to see the bird back in the wild with all of his friends," the animal welfare society said in statement released this afternoon.