Meet Nelson the seagull who has become a household pet

An Eastbourne resident who allowed a seagull called Nelson to live in her home many years ago knows only too well how dominant gulls can be.

Elizabeth Wright, who lives in Midhurst Drive, said, “Years ago we had a pet shop in Eastbourne and someone brought in an injured gull that had lost an eye. Apparently unable to focus properly to feed, he was in an emaciated state when he arrived. A few days of TLC and he perked up. As his eyesight still seemed poor, we had to help him eat his food. Highly intelligent, he soon caught on that the bowl held under his spitefully sharp beak contained food. As he gained strength he would hop out of the box and wander around. He quickly got used to us being near him, making no attempt to get away.

“He began seeing off the two family pet dogs from the mat in front of the fire; a quick peck and, as they nervously scattered he then settled down there for a snooze. Then he decided that one of the armchairs was even better. With no respect for us humans, if Nelson wanted an armchair he craftily made his choices and pecked hard at the feet of whoever was sitting there, until they moved. And having got settled there, he’d watch a bit of television before going to sleep.

“And if he refused to get off, no amount of persuasion would move him. In the end we had to throw a towel over him, and lift him off, trying to avoid the razor sharp beak. Then there was a rush to see who got back to the armchair first. If he lost out, Nelson would grumble and grunt, and take his temper out on the dogs, with a quick peck at their rear ends as he strode past.”

Elizabeth said the ‘strong willed bird’ virtually took over the home and added, “He strutted proudly around, as if he owned the place, and knew exactly how to keep us in order. Visitors stood outside on being told ‘Nelson is out,’ And had to wait until we’d either shut him temporarily in the outhouse, or shoo’d him into the back garden.”

When he fully recovered, he started going further afield each day but would still go back to the house to sleep in his favourite armchair. Eventually, he flew off to live his life in the wild.