The story of Jeremy, a baby gull & life coach

Jeremy fell from his nest when he was two days old, finding himself with a broken leg in a busy street filled with humans. Rescue facilities were not interested in taking in a baby gull, they said there were just too many of them. So, little Jeremy, a European herring gull, a Larus argentatus, grew up with a human mum and dad, surrounded by cats and dogs for brothers and sisters.

What has this got to do with coaching? We often experience the aha-moment of self-discovery when and where we least expect to find it. A painting, a movie, a book, a pet or a breath-taking nature view can act as unexpected coaches, triggering awareness of our potential and purpose, revealing our values, which make life meaningful.

Jeremy was an amazing coach who, day by day, raised my awareness of perceptive and creative skills I never thought I possessed. He accompanied me on a journey of self-exploration. Having always had cats and dogs, I had absolutely no knowledge of how to take care of a bird.

So, the first step was to acquire knowledge by contacting experts (i.e., a vet and an ornithologist), and reading about gulls, especially baby gulls, their food, needs, habits and growth.

The deep connection of both verbal and non-verbal communication guided me to know his needs:  

  • when to make his baby box larger as he grew; he gradually learnt to fly out of it;
  • how to exercise his bandaged foot by giving him toys to play with and hop around;
  • when to encourage him to swim by gradually filling the bath with water, initially a couple of centimetres for him to grow accustomed to water, until after a few weeks he was happily swimming around, enjoying even the flow of water from the tap;
  • when to start teaching him to hop onto a step, and to also jump down, starting from a few centimetres until, at the end of three months, he was quite an expert in spreading his wings and jumping off the table;
  • when to encourage him to climb and descend an inclined surface to strengthen his muscles and wings.

This journey of discovery also included our cats and dogs, who curled up beside him to sleep, and watched his progress with curiosity.

When his tail feathers were long enough to enable flight, Jeremy started his outdoor training.

He swam in the Grand Canal here in Venice as if it were a gigantic bath, and learnt to lift off and fly. The most amazing experience was to watch him always come back to us after each flight, which took him high above the rooftops. On returning home, he invariably sought his friend Rodrigo, our Italian sheep dog, and settled on him to rest.

On 31 August 2021, when he was three months old and ready to return to his natural surroundings with a healed foot and well developed wings and tail feathers, Jeremy was released in a private garden overlooking a peaceful area of the lagoon, where he settled into a small flock of gulls.

Sunday mornings have become a feast both for Jeremy and us, as we visit him and his friends with treats.

He was by my side when I wrote the book “Social isolation and engagement in remote-working public and private employees”, McGraw-Hill Education, 2022, pecking on the computer keys and singing along with Pavarotti and Bocelli’s music. Yes, he loves opera!

I am sharing this story as a reflection that every situation is an opportunity to stretch our potential and achieve the unthinkable. This inner growth enhances our perception of others and problem-solving skills by developing our creativity.


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