An elderly man has developed an adorable 12-year friendship with a seagull after he saved its life. John Summer has a special bond with his friend Chirpy. They spend time together every single day, playing together on the beach. Chirpy, who is around 20 years old, won’t go near anyone else, but will fly straight over to John as soon as he arrives on Instow Beach near Yelland, Devon. They became friends after John found Chirpy with a broken leg and nursed him back to health. 80-year-old John said: ‘I saw him screaming and shouting above my head in agony and I did not know what to do. ‘The next day he came around me again and tried to land, but was screaming in pain. I did not think he would live, his leg was completely broken.’ To help the bird, John fed him dog biscuits that he brought along for his pet Jack, a process that he repeated each time he returned to the beach.
Soon Chirpy’s leg healed, although a bit crooked, and he was back to his regular self. } John believes Chirpy could be as much as 20 years old – the maximum age recorded for a seagull is 32 years. He added: ‘He comes right up to me, he gets so close. He won’t go to anybody else but me, so he has got some sort of relationship with me. ‘In March he will go off and do his natural thing and then September he is back with me as normal after they have done their nesting.
There’s not that many black-headed gulls on Instow Beach, if there was more than 20 I’d be surprised.
‘He encourages the rest to come over but he is the only one that comes close to me and he will just stay there and hover. ‘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?’