A gull dies on Monomoy

Foreword: predator control is a complex issue on Monomoy- how are we the ones to decide what birds live or die on this island? Herring gulls nest primarily on neighboring North Monomoy island, but have been observed flying into the tern colony to feed on tern chicks. Herring gull nest disruption aims to prevent this problem by reducing the number of large gulls on Monomoy, but occasionally a determined pair remains in the colony. What follows is a recount of what happens then.
We leave the kitchen on the camp trail, but instead of going to the boat landing, we take a left and head towards the laughing gull colony. In the distance I can see the herring gull- it’s sitting near to a rose bush, marked with a pink survey flag. We stop short about fifty meters away. She takes the gun out of its case and loads it, slotting bullets into the clip. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Six bullets? I ask her- it seems like a for just just one gull. No, she says, but last time she had to stop, reload, and missed the gull. Not making the same mistake this time. She finishes loading, pops the clip into the gun, and kneels down in the dune grass. 
There’s a very long silence as she watches the gull. Shifting her weight a little bit, the laughing gulls flush, but settle down again. I wonder what she’s seeing through the scope. A minute later, there’s a small pop. The herring gull gets up to fly away, then sits down on her nest again. “Did I get her?” She takes another shot. The herring gull sits down, then disappears behind a clump of grass. After a few seconds, the laughing gulls start hovering over the bird. They seem to know she’s dead already. 
Unloading the gun, we walk up to the nest. It’s got one egg. The gull has a hole in her left breast- just a small rumple in the feathers- but on her other side, the bullet’s gone through her wing- twice. The gull’s soft. The feathers are soft. I shut her eyes. We get the egg, and I carry the gull back to the gun. It starts dripping blood now, as we put the gun back in its case and return to the tent. 

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