Fred the Seagull

Friday, October 14, 2016 by Julia Maine

One of my favorite books is Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man by Robert McCloskey. Burt Dow is an old, retired fisherman who lives with his sister off the coast of Maine. From his bright yellow oil skins and leaky boat with the make-or-break engine to the giggling gull he keeps for a pet, Burt Dow reminds me of the real-life fisherman living off the coast of Maine today. In fact, I know one lobsterman in Casco Bay who has his very own giggling gull for a pet. The gull's name is Fred and hhas been visiting the same lobsterman every morning for as long as I can remember. Fred sticks his head through the window of the wheelhouse, gives a squawk, and waits for scraps of herring bait and other treats. Sometimes Fred brings his family for breakfast, Mrs. Fred and Fred Jr, and the lobsterman gives them scraps as well. Every once and a while an imposter shows up. His name is Ted, and he doesn’t get any treats. Maybe you'll see Fred stealing herring bait off the lobster boats in Portland Harbor next time you come to visit the Gulf of Maine Research Institute. 

If you've already read Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man, here are some great books you could read this fall: 

The Thing About Jellyfish - Ali Benjamin 

Red Kayak - Priscilla Cummings 

The Islander - Cynthia Rylant


Here's Mrs. Fred looking for her husband. He's probably in the wheelhouse stealing donuts!

Photo Cred: Nancy Onley


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