Sharie and David Krughoff
Seagull at Last Mountain Lake
Mrs. G., with her mate Gully, befriended David and Sharie Krughoff while they spent the summer at Last Mountain Lake.
Our friend “Gully” was mentioned in the fall issue. Based on feedback, his photo and warm, trusting heart stole the limelight. For new readers a quick review is in order.
Sharie and I worked in Saskatchewan’s Last Mountain Lake Wildlife Sanctuary this year. A magnificent California gull began visiting our campsite in early May. Sharie named him Gully. Before long, whenever we called out his name, he appeared within minutes.
During May and June evenings were cool. We enjoyed campfires after supper and Gully hung out with us. Gulls often rest on large rocks, so we placed a white garbage can between our chairs. He promptly settled on top of it for the evening.
Gully quickly learned that we’re up at dawn. Rain or shine, he waited patiently by an east window of our little travel trailer. Every morning we opened the window and said, “Good morning, Gully.” Initially he gave us a raucous greeting! Not wanting to awaken other campers, Sharie put a stop to that. Placing a forefinger to her mouth she said firmly, “Shh, Gully bird, that’s unacceptable!” After three consecutive days of this, his greetings were more gentlemanly.
We began giving him a small treat of sardines canned in water. We viewed this as a matter of politeness. After all we were enjoying our breakfast. What we didn’t expect is that he continued to spend evenings with us. We assumed this powerful gull must have a life-mate. Sharie often said, “Gully, it’s getting dark. You need to go home to Mrs. G. She’ll be worried.”
Suddenly, in July, Gully started leaving immediately after his morning treat. He quickly returned but his crop was empty. He was giving the fish to his baby, who we later named Sage. After returning, he stayed for a while, but clearly had new responsibilities.
One morning a few weeks later, Gully, Mrs. G, and Sage were standing on the roof of our Jeep. We literally cried with joy. Mrs. G was shy and remained on the Jeep during her first visit. Confident little Sage explored our campsite. Gully shared his regular morning treat with her. As time passed, Mrs. G also visited regularly. She and Gully often shared the breakfast sardines.
Gully and Mrs. G assumed leadership rolls in their community. Early in August, Mrs. G brought 55 juveniles to our campsite! Gully often watched over about 20. Our site was a safe refuge. The youngsters rested or napped peacefully. Why did these two adults take this responsibility while other pairs let fledglings fend for themselves?
Sometimes coexistence with wildlife may include co-operation and a helping hand. We take solace in the tiny difference our efforts make.
For the full story of Gully and his interaction with the Krughoffs, find our article "The Fine Art of Co-existence", page 61, in the Winter 2013 issue of Prairies North Magazine.
Also, visit David & Sharie’s website www.krugyandkrugy.com for more books, photos and ideas.
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