Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

Fishing gear injuries

May 20, 2017

Photo of the Week: Caspian Tern With Fishhook In Wing

Check out this beautiful Caspian Tern, photographed by Alex Viduetsky from the oceanic jetty in Playa Del Rey, California.

Now look closer and you’ll see what Alex also saw: “Unexpectedly, a Caspian Tern with a fishhook in its right wing flew above my head. It made me think how many birds are getting hooked and how many of them are capable of breaking free?”

The answer is that we see many, many birds that have been hooked or entangled, and next to none of them are capable of unhooking themselves. Many hooks are ingested.

Fishing line and fish hooks are the single most frequent problem we treat at Bird Rescue. Please help by picking up fishing debris wherever you see it!

 

July 25, 2015

Patient of the Week: Goose With Severe Fishing Line Injury

Canada Goose before having neck strangling fishing line removed.

Anesthetized Canada Goose prior to removal of strangulating fishing line.

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After removal of fishing line from Goose’s neck. Photos by Rebecca Duerr – International Bird Rescue

On Wednesday this week our Los Angeles clinic admitted a patient with a severe fishing line injury.

This Canada Goose was rescued by the staff at El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach. When it arrived at our Los Angeles wildlife center we found thick wads of monofilament line constricting both legs, with yet more line around its neck. Fortunately, the leg injuries appeared mild, compared to other cases like this we have treated, but the neck wounds were very bad and warranted immediate surgery.

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This wound shows the seriousness that birds face with discarded fishing line.

Our staff immediately anesthetized the bird to remove the line from the neck. Under the line, our staff veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr, found deep lacerations encircling the whole neck. The damage was limited to the skin. Thankfully, the esophagus and trachea appeared undamaged. She removed some areas of dead skin and sutured the skin back together.

Donate-button-Make-GiftThe bird had obviously been trying to eat since its esophagus was packed with a hard dry ball of green grass that it couldn’t swallow.

We have hopes this goose will make a full recovery. Meanwhile our staff will provide supportive care and pain relief until the neck swelling resolves and the bird fully gets the hang of swallowing again.

Many thanks to El Dorado staff for their prompt rescue of this bird!

Please help wildlife by discarding fishing line in appropriate containers, and picking up any stray line you see that others have left. Animals like this goose thank you

If you would like to support the care of this wild bird, you can donate online now

 

January 6, 2015

Patient in care: Surf Scoter

Male Surf Scoter in care at our San Francisco Bay Center. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

Male Surf Scoter in care at our San Francisco Bay Center. Photo by Cheryl Reynolds

Who does not love a Surf Scoter? With its striking multi-colored bill and a male’s velvety black feathers.

This bird is in care after getting entangled in fishing line. It had a hook in its his leg and another in his neck. He is recovering well.

You can see this Scoter on our birdcam: http://bird-rescue.org/birdcam//birdcam-1.aspx

November 4, 2014

Patients of the week: two Great Blue Herons, two human-caused injuries seen all too often

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Photos by Cheryl Reynolds

Great Blue Herons are among the most majestic of aquatic birds, with their S-curved necks in flight, graceful stature andGHBE lightning-quick reflexes as they hunt for prey at water’s edge.

Though this species has been protected by federal law for nearly a century, our wildlife teams regularly care for herons injured by human causes — some incidental, others deliberate. Today, International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center is caring for herons affected by both.

The Great Blue Heron you see above was rescued by our friends at Wildlife Emergency Services after it was found crouched in the backyard of a Hollister, CA home. Caregivers at SPCA for Monterey County Wildlife Center took X-rays of the heron and found that it had been shot. The bird has since been transferred to us, and is recovering from a fractured wing in addition to the gunshot wounds.

Wildlife Emergency Services has secured a reward of $5,050 in this case; anonymous tipsters with information leading to the arrest and conviction IMG_1375-Lof the person or persons responsible can call the California Department of Fish and Wildlife CalTip line at 888-334-2258 or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at 650-876-9078.

Great Blue Herons are known to sometimes hunt for fish in backyard ponds. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers a simple solution for homeowners and their koi fish: Put a length of drain pipe in the pond for the fish to hide from wading birds seeking a quick meal.

Our second Great Blue Heron (right) at International Bird Rescue’s San Francisco Bay center has a more common affliction: injuries due to fishing line entanglement. Both of these birds are being housed in outdoor heron aviaries with privacy screening to limit visual contact (Great Blues can be high-stress birds in captivity).

Your support as a member is what makes this work possible. Thank you very much!

October 28, 2014

Brown Pelican with fishing gear injury

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Photos by Kylie Clatterbuck

A common sight in our Los Angeles wildlife clinic: Here is the latest Brown Pelican to come to us with a fishing gear injury, this one affecting the bird’s left leg and foot.

Fishing gear in the environment is one of several issues addressed in Judy Irving’s new documentary Pelican Dreams, now in theaters. We heartily recommend this film for an intimate look at pelicans and the threats they face. photo 1-L

August 27, 2014

Devastating fish hook injuries, but a pelican’s pluck prevails

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Photos by Kelly Berry

BRPEThis Brown Pelican was brought to our Los Angeles center on August 18 from the Long Beach area, where it was found wrapped in a large amount of fishing tackle. Rehabilitation technician Kelly Berry reports that one lure had four fishing hooks of various sizes, two treble hooks and a long strand of fishing line.

All six hooks were embedded into the bird’s wings, causing puncture wounds and wing droop. The good news is that all hooks and line were removed, and the pelican’s wounds are healing well.

Fishing hooks and fishing line are such a pervasive problem for seabirds, and a leading cause of injury in the birds we care for at our California centers. If you fish, be mindful of where your gear ends up. We know there are many fishermen who are responsible, and it’s our wish that you’ll spread this message to others. We are grateful that you set a good example out on the water and at the cleaning stations.

And we can all do our part by picking up plastic pollution and discarded gear wherever we see it in the marine environment. You may end up saving a wild bird’s life.

You can learn more on this issue at the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project’s website.

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August 2, 2014

An Elegant Tern Loses Her Baby to Fishing Hooks

Terns in tangle after being hooked together last month in Southern California.

Elegant Terns in tangle after being hooked together last month in Southern California. Photo by Nick Liberato

Dear Friends,

If you work in this business, you learn to live with a lot of heartache. For every case ending in an awe-inspiring release, there’s an animal whose injuries were just too much to bear.

Some stories are a mix of both.

PBGR-Donate-buttonOur Los Angeles center team recently received this adult Elegant Tern and a tern chick hooked together by a multi-hook fishing lure.

Nick Liberato, a biologist who monitors a tern colony on nearby Terminal Island, found the birds and took the photo upon rescue. “I spotted them as I was ushering some stray chicks back through the chick fencing and into the main rookery,” Liberato says. “At first, I thought they were just tangled in monofilament [fishing line], but when I saw that multi-hooked lure puncturing both of them, I knew my tools wouldn’t cut it, so I got them over to you guys as quickly as possible.”

Our rehabilitation team separated mother from chick and extensively nursed the severe wounds of both animals. Sadly, the tern’s injuries had already become infected, and this baby bird did not survive. The mother healed remarkably after several weeks of care, and was recently released by our intern and volunteer team at Bolsa Chica Wetlands in Huntington Beach, CA. You can see video of this story below.

Fishing hooks and fishing line are such a pervasive problem for seabirds, and a leading cause of injury in the birds we care for at our California centers. If you fish, be mindful of where your gear ends up. We know there are many fishermen who are responsible, and it’s our wish that you’ll spread this message to others. We are grateful that you set a good example out on the water and at the cleaning stations.

And we can all do our part by picking up plastic pollution and discarded gear wherever we see it in the marine environment. You may end up saving a wild bird’s life.

Meanwhile, a particularly busy summer of orphaned birds, injured pelicans and oiled seabirds continues full steam. By last count, we have well over 300 injured, ill or orphaned birds at our wildlife hospitals. Please consider making a donation to support the birds we all love. A gift of $100, $50, $25 or even $10 goes a long way.

In gratitude,

Barbara Signature

Barbara Callahan
Interim Executive Director

A bittersweet release: Elegant Tern from International Bird Rescue on Vimeo.

July 9, 2014

Update on tern and chick found hooked together

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ELTETerns upon intake, photo by Kelly Berry

A number of loyal readers have asked us for an update on the Elegant Tern found hooked by fishing lure to one of the bird’s chicks. (Read more on this case at Care2.com and the Daily Breeze.)

Both birds continue to be in the care of our Los Angeles center team after a local biologist found them struggling on Terminal Island. They are recuperating together in a large enclosure.

The adult tern’s multiple wing injuries are healing well, and the bird is no longer in need of a wing wrap (we continue to administer antibiotics).

The baby’s wounds were more severe, with triple hooks embedded in the chick’s leg and wing. The bird may have suffered nerve damage to its leg, Dr. Rebecca Duerr reports, and the prognosis remains guarded.

Thank you all for your concern. We are giving these birds the best care possible — which is what they deserve!

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Photo by Dr. Rebecca Duerr

June 26, 2014

Rescuer’s account of tern and chick found hooked together

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Update July 8, 2014 from our vet: “Wounds are healing well but both parent and chick still have guarded prognosis for full return to function. Chick has elbow and leg problems, parent has wing problem.” We will continue to update you when we know more. Thanks for your concern. –IBR Staff

As we posted earlier this week, our Los Angeles center recently received an adult Elegant Tern and a tern chick hooked together by a fishing lure. Found at the Terminal Island tern colony near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the birds have since been separated and are now receiving daily bandage treatment, antibiotics and plenty of supportive care. The prognosis remains guarded.

Nick Liberato, a biologist who monitors the tern colony, found the birds and took this photo upon rescue. “I spotted them as I was ushering some stray chicks back through the chick fencing and into the main rookery,” Liberato says.

“As is usually the case, tangled birds become noticeable when the rest of the colony moves away as one approaches,” he says. “At first, I thought they were just tangled in monofilament [fishing line], but when I saw that multi-hooked lure puncturing both of them, I knew my tools wouldn’t cut it, so I got them over to you guys as quickly as possible.”
June 24, 2014

Treble hook fishing lure seriously injures an adult tern and chick

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Photos by Kelly Berry

Update July 8, 2014 from our vet: “Wounds are healing well but both parent and chick still have guarded prognosis for full return to function. Chick has elbow and leg problems, parent has wing problem.” We will continue to update you when we know more. Thanks for your concern. –IBR Staff

We regularly care for seabirds seriously wounded by fishing hooks. But this case may be a tragic first.

On Monday, our Los Angeles center received an adult Elegant Tern with a chick. Both were found at Terminal Island snagged together byELTE a fishing lure with three treble hooks — one embedded in the adult’s left wing, the other two attached to the chick’s left leg and wing.

We’ve seen cases of monofilament fishing line entangling and injuring multiple seabirds, but this may be our first case of a fishing lure wounding both parent and chick, who were separated by our team and treated with antibiotics as soon as possible. At this time the prognosis is guarded.

Terns are common patients for our centers, and many have suffered at the hands of humans. We cared for oiled Sandwich Terns during the Gulf spill in 2010 and raised orphaned tern chicks during a 2006 incident were workers in Long Beach used high-pressure hoses to illegally remove hundreds of nests situated on a barge. Last fall, our San Francisco Bay center cared for an Elegant Tern with a gunshot injury — also very much illegal, as terns are protected under federal law.

We’ll keep you posted on the condition of these special patients under our team’s expert care.

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You can make a contribution to support these terns’ care by clicking here.

June 18, 2014

In care: Brown Pelican with an odd injury

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Photo by Bill Steinkamp

Often we receive birds with inexplicable injuries. This is one such case.

Animal control officers recently transported a Brown Pelican with an injured foot to our Los Angeles center. Our veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr, found and removed two sharp, wood objects that had impeded the bird’s ability to bear weight on its foot.

And that was just the beginning. Dr. Duerr then found a fishing hook embedded in the back of the bird’s throat requiring surgery to retrieve. During surgery, more hook fragments were found in the pelican’s stomach, all of which also were removed.

And here’s the mystery injury: The x-ray you see here shows a large metal object embedded in the pelican’s synsacrum, or pelvis. It was lodged deep in a hole adjacent to the spinal cord, completely surrounded by bone. Dr. Duerr initially assumed this metal object was a bullet of some kind, but upon cleaning it off after surgery, noted that it looked more like a fishing sinker.

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Sinker

If that’s the case, how would a 12 millimeter-long fishing sinker get embedded in the pelvis of a pelican? Speculation so far has settled on a high powered slingshot or some sort of homemade ammunition. Tests came back positive for lead toxicity, for which this bird is currently undergoing treatment.

Pelicans with fishing line or tackle-related injuries continue to flood our centers this summer. Monofilament line can create horrible constriction wounds and hooks may penetrate joints or other crucial anatomic areas. If you see fishing line or hooks in the environment, you can do the birds and other animals a huge favor by carefully picking it up and disposing of it properly.

This likely cruelty case comes about two months after the Pink the Pelican story.

February 13, 2014

In care: Pelagic Cormorant

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This beautiful Pelagic Cormorant was found with multiple fishing hook injuries. Our friends at California Wildlife Center removed the hooks and transferred the bird to our L.A. center, where it’s recovering from the wounds in an outdoor aviary.

Wildlife rehab is all about teamwork!

Photo by Kelly Berry.

 

January 18, 2014

Grebe wrapped in fishing line

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Photos by Kelly Berry

wegrAnother victim of fishing gear waste: This Western Grebe was recently found beached and wrapped in monofilament line, which causes countless injuries among aquatic birds every year. We’re currently caring for the grebe at our Los Angeles center.

Audubon California describes the problem this way:

Monofilament fishing line is an amazingly strong substance that gets snagged on many things in the environment. Little thought is given to snapping the line when it invariably gets tangled; other than “darn that was my favorite lure”.

Just look around trees and shrubs next to favorite fishing holes and see how much fishing line is strewn on the ground and snagged in the vegetation.

To protect wildlife and the environment, always take all line with you when you leave. Discarded line can snag and harm people and wildlife and kill fish, turtles, frogs, birds and small mammals.

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November 19, 2013

An all-too-common seabird menace: fishing gear injuries

IMG_3048According to last year’s data, about 22% of Brown Pelicans cared for by International Bird Rescue’s rehabilitation staff had confirmed injuries resulting from fishing gear, such as hooks and monofilament line, which can cause fatal constriction wounds.

And in 2013, we’ve seen a consistently high number of such injuries.

This Brown Pelican was found on November 12 at Dockweiler Beach in Los Angeles and rescued by Marine Animal Rescue. Upon intake at our Los Angeles center in the San Pedro neighborhood, we removed multiple hooks off this bird, some severely embedded.

International Bird Rescue rehabilitation technician Kelly Berry reports that the pelican was emaciated and dehydrated, but has since gained over 300 grams and is living in an outside enclosure. The wounds caused by the hooks are receiving treatment on a daily basis.

For more reading on fishing gear pollution and what we can do to limit this nuisance from the marine environment, we heartily recommend SeaDoc Society’s Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project website.

Why do we show these images? After reading a recent post on fishing tackle injuries among seabirds, I realized that it may not be evident to everyone why we post these images and share these birds’ stories on our blog. It’s because fishing tackle and pollutants are daily obstacles for these animals, and we want everyone to know this. The real rub is that ALL of these problems can be fixed with just a little effort. Simply picking up discarded fishing line and tackle wherever you see it on a beach or pier, cutting it into small pieces and disposing of it makes a big difference. Many of these birds become entangled and injured by discarded fishing line and tackle that we walk by every day. — Jay Holcomb

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Photos by Julie Skoglund

November 3, 2013

Black-crowned Night Heron with swallowed fish hook

Black-Crowned Night Heron 13-2477 recovering from fishhook removal

Here, staff veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Duerr surgically removes a large fishing hook (attached to a glittery worm lure) swallowed by this Black-crowned Night Heron, currently in care at our San Francisco Bay center. Photos by Cheryl Reynolds.

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