June 8, 2015 - Yesterday evening Kimberly Kaufman, Executive Director of Black Swamp Bird Observatory, posted a Public Service Annou...

RBS - A Rogue Rescue - by Sarah Lucas

June 8, 2015 -

Yesterday evening Kimberly Kaufman, Executive Director of Black Swamp Bird Observatory, posted a Public Service Announcement on Facebook about the dangers of fishing line and lures. Coincidentally, about 5 hours before that, Rogue Birder Sarah Lucas was sharing a similar story with our team. Check it out!!

It started out, like all birding days do, with a wake up alarm set for 5:30am. Jeremy and I were planning to look for king rails in northwestern Ohio. The day started out slow. We were working our way from Mallard Club Marsh to Pipe Creek.  We had no luck at any places along the way. The highlight of the day so far was 8 Sandhill Cranes at Metzger marsh. The last stop of the day before heading back to Dayton was Pipe Creek. As we started walking we saw some indigo buntings and heard peewee's off in the distance. On the water was a hooded merganser with her little ones. We stopped to take pictures of the cuties, then were on our way further back into the park. We walked a few hundred feet and right by the rock shore was a double-crested cormorant, except this one was acting very strangely.

I watched as it was struggling to hold its head out of the water and it had irregular wing movements. That is when I saw the fishing wire, and then the hook which was caught in the loose under skin. I knew I had to do something, I couldn't just leave the bird helpless.

Jeremy and I acted quickly. We didn't have gloves and knew the possibility of getting nipped at could happen. I was ready to help the cormorant get out of this mess. We gently pulled him towards us, not knowing how much damage it already caused to itself. I was hesitant on where to grab, it could reach almost anywhere I tried to grab it's head. First try, snipped at my hand, ouch. Time to try again, but another snip, this time it got my finger, but I had to help it. Third time was a charm - got it! Once I was able to get the bird under control, Jeremy was able to take over while I clipped the fishing line and untangled the wire from it's wings and feet. Now on to the hardest part, the hook. We knew this wasn't going to be easy, not only was a hook through the skin, but two parts of the skin. As gently as I could I worked the hook out of the first hole, and then the second. 

Finally the bird was free, it's wings didn't seem to be injured, which was a relief. So we took some quick pictures and said our goodbyes. As soon as I let go it dove off towards the middle of the water, popped up, and was swimming as normal. I was glad that Jeremy and I were at the right place at the right time. A moment I will never forget in this lifetime.

Here is the information that was shared by Kimberly Kaufman. Click on the link below for more information about the dangers of fishing line and lures.

Photo Courtesy of BSBO, used with permission
Dangers of Fishing Line and Lures - Birding Ohio Facebook Page

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  1. Glad you could help the bird. Often see them tangled or impaled but can't do anything. it's a constant chore picking up fishing line, hooks, lead sinkers, and lures in and along Griggs Reservoir in Columbus.


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