Monday, March 9, 2015

What to do if you hook a pelican

I know I haven't posted in awhile, my goal is to change that.  So.......interesting title to a post after being gone so long.....

I just returned from a week long trip to the Forgotten Coast.......Port St. Joe, Florida.  I love Florida, I go as often as I can.  This year, my husband and I bought a salt water fishing license, we took our boat and we spent some time on the water doing what we love.     When you go fishing, you always need to stop at a bait shop, for bait, hooks something that you forgot.

So a little prepping for where this is going.  I've fished most of my life.   I've seen what fishing line can do to wildlife, especially birds.   I rescued a Canadian Goose from drowning after getting tangled in discarded fishing line.  When I am in Florida, one of my favorite things to photograph is pelicans.  After I get home and look at the photos on my large monitor, nearly 90% of the pelicans I have photographed have fishing line somewhere on them, or injuries from fishing line.  I've always been told leave them alone, cut the line, they will probably die.

All 3 of these pelicans have line or injuries from fishing line.  You can see the cut on the throat of the brown pelican in the foreground in this photo.  The middle one had line on him and the one in the back had cuts as well from fishing line.

While at Blue Water Outfitters, I noticed a brochure.  Full color with a large pelican on the cover.  What to do if you hook a pelican.   I was super surprised when I opened it, there are instructions on how to handle the pelican and remove the hook.  They also mention egrets and herons.   To some this may not be that big of a deal.   I love wildlife.  I hunt as well, I'm not a big animal rights person.   But I don't ever want to see an animal suffer and if I am to blame for an accident to an animal, you can be sure I will try to help it.   I won't just "leave it alone".

I am super impressed with the organizations that helped produce this pamphlet.   I was able to find the brochure online.

Link to the pamphlet : What to do if you hook a pelican brochure 

These birds become accustomed to us being around.  People inevitably toss fish to them.   We have trained them.   Then we throw fish to them that have been bones, that is not what these birds are designed to eat.  Tossing fishing line on the ground.  Birds fly, their grace is there, walking on the ground with fishing line and hooks......  not the best recipe.  Then casting those bait fish.......that delicious fish we think of as bait is food to them.  If you see a bird nearby, don't cast near it.  Have some respect for the wildlife that is around us.   I could ramble on this for hours, but will stop......

Vulture eating some remaining fish parts. One of the few birds that can handle leftover fish parts with exposed bones.

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