From the moment that I started working with the birds affected by the oil spill, it has been my dearest wish to be allowed to see a rehabilitated bird set free. Today, my wish came true. I was allowed to return healthy, wild birds to their homes.
Robb and I got up early and drove out to Cordelia, where we loaded birds into our cars and drove over hill and dale to the beautiful and beautifully named Heart's Desire Beach on Tomales Bay.
We spread the boxes out by the surf.
And one by one, we set the birds free.
Most of the thirty-one birds we released flew off together as quickly as their wings would carry them, but this juvenile Western Gull made us all laugh by strutting up and down on the shoreline before finally swimming away.
All the work I've done with the birds has had double meaning for me. When I released the birds, I wished that they live a fine life in the wild, and are never again touched by human hands. I also wished that anyone going through a traumatic recovery find the strength to return to the life that they love.