Monday, October 11, 2010
Loon with Beak Wrapped with Fishing Line and Sinker, Volunteer Weekend
( Photo: This Common Loon, in immature plumage, was found on Sunday with fishing line wrapped around her beak, tongue and neck. Note the lead sinker attached to the line. People sometimes ask us how lead sinkers could possibly affect wildlife. This is how. The loon was unable to eat or even drink due to the position the line held her tongue, beak and neck.)
We had many wildlife calls this weekend. Sunday afternoon several people called about what they thought was a goose with broken legs on a local road. When they went back to check the "goose", it was gone. An hour later we got a call from the same area of a Great-blue Heron in a farmer's driveway. We left immediately to rescue the bird, whatever it might be. We arrived to find not a goose or a heron, but a Common Loon. She was in very difficult situation.
Fishing line was wound around her beak and neck. A lead sinker was visible on the side of her mouth. The fishing line was twisted around her tongue in such a way that she was unable to eat or even drink. The loon could open her mouth only 1/2 inch. To complicate matters, she had apparently had this problem for some time as she was near starvation.
We rushed her to the REGI clinic. My great staff had all the things we needed including wire cutters and electrolyte fluid ready when we drove up. We worked on the loon carefully to extricate her from the line. The tongue was wrapped tight. I worried about long term damage to her mouth. Gratefully, this morning she seems to be doing well. She has an uphill battle, however, to recover from starvation. We will work hard to make sure she has a future.
The young loon is still in critical condition. We have not done x-rays or blood work as she is too fragile at this point. I will keep you updated. F.Y.I. a person did not wrap this loon with the line. Unfortunately, when line is discarded in a lake or shore, wildlife find it and become entangled. Encourage fishermen you know to please discard their line responsibly. My grandchildren and I walk local lakes to collect discarded line. You would be amazed how much there is. It is a good activity to do with childen. They get exercise while learning about wildlife and being responsible people.
( Photo: Monofilment fishing line complete with lead sinker was removed from Common Loon patient #377-10 on Sunday.)
( Photo: Eating a few minnows on her own, our loon patient must be relieved to be able to open her mouth again. Feeding a starvation case is complicated. If given too much food, she could die. Most of this patient's food is an ematiation diet which she gets though a tube.)
We worked doing every outdoor project possible to keep ahead of the cold weather. Last year we had snow on this day! We know that could be our reality any day now. Once the weather hits freezing, we don't even see the ground until spring. It is a blanket of snow.
Thank goodness for volunteers Brandon Carmichael, Lenora Dombro, and Zack Zalewski! They worked hard all weekend along with REGI staff to get the facility ready for winter. We still have lots to do, but we can relax a little knowing the vital painting and moving soil, including some ditch digging, are finished.
People know we work with birds at REGI, but many have little idea of the manual labor involved in upkeep of the buildings and grounds in good shape. If any blog readers are carpenters or even know how to swing a hammer, we are always in need of cage repair.
( Photo: Zackary Zalewski and Robert Prinsen give the inside of the new eagle enclosure a second coat of paint to prepare for winter!. Thanks guys!)
( Photo: UWSP students Brandon Carmichael and Lenora Dombro volunteered all day on Sunday. They finished up the painting, then went right to hauling dirt and finally working with the birds. Thanks guys! )
Have a great day everyone!
Marge Gibson © 2010