Oct 1, 2011

Another hazard of discarded line...

This morning we responded to a call from the Moss Landing Harbormaster. They'd had a report of two cormorants hanging from an old abandoned pier. One was still alive.

We were on scene within thirty minutes, and were quickly escorted by boat to the platform.

As we got close, we could see the structure was being used by Brandt's cormorants as a nesting site - there were about twenty or so empty nests - rounded, shallow mounds of seaweed and grasses, covered in a thick layer guano.

Sadly, we found both birds were dead. 

We discovered something really interesting, though. The birds' legs were tangled in fishing line, but the line was part of the material used to construct their nest! 

After cutting the bodies free and removing the remainder of exposed line, we cut tangles of fishing line from nests within reach.

How sad - the parents can't tell the difference between soft, spongy clumps of seaweed or grasses and wads of errant fishing line. 

A wad of fishing line mistaken for a clump of dried sea grass.