Jul 27, 2012

Yet another fishing line injury

Our 'goose whisperer' strikes again. Here's Deanna's story of today's rescue:

I arrived at Lake El Estero in Monterey to find a large flock of geese foraging on the grass.  I slowly walked past each bird, applying enough pressure to get the ones lying down to stand up so I could see their legs. I was looking for fishing line entanglements.

There were no obvious injuries on any of the birds, but four geese remained in the water. I decided to lure them out using some grain and bread crumbs.

If possible, I like to involve young kids in helping get the birds to come close enough to inspect. It's fun for them, and it's a chance for me to teach them about protecting wildlife. I figure, if we want the next generation of young people to have compassion for animals, we need to set the example.

There was a young girl approximately 5 years old walking with her mom. I asked if they would like to help me get the geese out of the water. I explained that normally we do not feed wildlife, but this was an exception in order to check them for injuries. They were more than happy to assist.

The minute we began tossing grain, all of the birds started to approach, even the ones in the water. Sure enough, one of them had fishing line around its leg.

After a quick lesson on why people should properly discard fishing line, my little helper headed off with her mom, and I began the task of catching the goose.

We "danced" back and forth for a few minutes, with me tossing grain to tempt her near enough. When I felt she was in just the right spot to safely grab her, I made my move. In a flash I had her wings enveloped in my arms.

As a rule, when we encounter these types of injuries, we leave the line in place to be removed by the wildlife hospital. This injury, though, didn't appear to be as bad as others I'd seen and it would certainly be less stressful for the goose if I could remove the line on site and set her free. I decided to have a better look.

I enlisted the assistance of a couple walking to help hold the 
squirmy goose. With the bird's head and shoulders tucked inside a pillow case, I decided to snip the main line that was cutting into her scaly skin. It started to bleed, which is normal. I held pressure to the wound and the bleeding stopped, but I hesitated to let her go. With SPCA of Monterey just down the road, I opted to have her looked at by their wildlife center staff, just to be on the safe side.

There, at the wildlife center, the goose was thoroughly examined. The wound was cleaned and she was returned to me for release.


I am grateful we were able to catch this injury in time. The wildlife center staff indicated the fishing line would have eventually caused the loss of the foot.

Back at the lake, the goose was quickly met by others, as if she had never been away.

For more on what's being done to keep monofilament line out of the environment and how you can help, click HERE.


Anonymous said...

Many thanks for your good work. At El Dorado Regional Park in Long Beach we have these kinds of injuries almost daily from fishing lines and hooks. How I wish we could ban fishing in public park lakes.

Anonymous said...

When fishing along the upper Sacramento River in Northern Ca. I started picking up discarded fishing line and in a matter of less than 30 minutes my pockets were full. People are just careless and toss the line, not thnking of the wildlife that can be affected by this careless act.

Anonymous said...

Here is a way to help!...I have collected many pounds of fishing line in recycling bins at the Berkeley Pier. The bins are provided through the Monofilament Recycling program managed by the California coastal Commission department of Boating and Waterways. The line is collected and recycled and most importantly kept out of the environment.