“Somebody needs to go check.”

“Janitor?”

“He’s on vacation. I’ll do it.”

I learned that one of my co-workers gets into take-charge mode when it’s about someone’s life; in this case, a baby gull.

I took a picture of Junior just the other day from my side of the building. This afternoon, one of the girls next to the window noticed an adult gull gave Junior a vicious peck. It looked like Junior may be hurt.

Baby Larus canus, the center of attention at the office

Curiosity and compassion got the better of the co-worker who saw the peck and the take-charge one sitting next to her. They went out the emergency exit, onto the balcony surrounding our building. We happen to have the roof of the shopping center flush with our second floor balcony, a roof covered in gray gravel and perfect for nesting gulls. And right on the other side of our balcony, on the roof, next to a plank a roof worker had left, was where Junior was last seen.

At one point, eight co-workers were all crowding at the window, searching for the little bird, concerned but also knowing that every year there are chicks that don’t make it.

“The janitor’s found dead bodies on the roof before.”

Poor janitor. Not the most pleasant part of his job, cleaning up after the nesting season.

My two co-workers out on the balcony got the gulls screaming at them, but fortunately were not dive-bombed. Also: No Junior. They couldn’t see Junior anywhere.

Junior is missing.