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Woman plunges into Fort Point Channel to save a sea gull

A photographer who happened to be standing nearby captured a woman jumping into the Fort Point Channel to rescue a sea gull that appeared injured.
A photographer who happened to be standing nearby captured a woman jumping into the Fort Point Channel to rescue a sea gull that appeared injured. Febian Shah

Boston-based wedding photographer Febian Shah set out last week with his wife to take pictures of the couple’s 3-month-old Bernese mountain dog.

But what he ended up capturing was the dramatic rescue of an injured bird, helplessly floating in Fort Point Channel.

Shah posted a series of pictures to Reddit and Imgur Monday of a woman he met near the channel who made the daring leap into the murky water after watching the bird struggle to get to shore.

“She had waited for almost an hour hoping the bird will float ashore. But when the bird kept going in circles, she jumped in to rescue it,” Shah wrote on Imgur of the chance encounter.


The pictures show the fully clothed woman swimming toward the bird before scooping it into her arms. As spectators watched from a nearby bridge, the woman then made her way back to land, where she wrapped the bird, its wing looking mangled, in a piece of grey clothing. The Globe asked Shah to contact the woman to see if she would be interviewed. She declined, he said.

“It was quite a humbling experience to see someone care for a wild bird in the middle of the water,” Shah, a Newton resident, told the Globe in an e-mail. “With all the negativity around these days, it was refreshing to see someone care so much.”

Shah had considered going after the bird himself, but hesitated.

“I . . . am often in the area taking client pictures or dragon boating. In fact, our dragon boat was right next to it and we considered paddling to the bird. But we needed more paddlers to move and steer the boat,” he told the Globe. “So the only option was her to jump in and rescue the bird.”


Shah kept in touch with the woman, and after he sent her the photographs of the rescue, the woman gave Shah and his wife an update on the bird’s condition.

The woman said that after a night of rest and eating a piece of water-soaked bread, the bird, whom she named Bitty, seemed to be on the mend.

“I think the bird is going to be just fine,” she wrote in an e-mail, which was shared by Shah. “The left wing was still drooping, and causing it to trip and stumble that night, but by the morning the wing looked back to normal.”

She told Shah that she drove the bird to a wildlife rehabilitator in Brockton, who determined it was a young sea gull.

The bird will stay with animal experts for at least a few weeks until it heals and is returned to the wild, she said.

“It will be fed fish, and get exercise in a little pool and then will be let back outside to get used to the weather again,” she wrote.

Febian Shah
Febian Shah
Febian Shah
Febian Shah

Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.