Published On: Thu, Dec 15th, 2016

Rescuers struggle to save blue heron with fishing line wrapped around its beak | WTVC

A photo posted to Facebook by Heather Sutherland shows a blue heron with fishing line wrapped around its beak. The blue heron was perched on a pier near the Chickamauga Dam. Both the TWRA and Happinest Wildlife Rehabilitation and Rescue were contacted to come help free the bird of the fishing line.

TWRA Wildlife Expert Joe McSpadden said this is likely a direct result of people not picking up their trash: “make sure you don’t leave your litter behind because this is the direct result. It affects wildlife and not just birds. It affects aquatic life as well.”

“Well of course birds can fly and as long as it can take lift there is a good chance I won’t be able to get close enough to it to catch it,” said McSpadden.

A fisherman threw a fish to the bird to see if the blue heron could eat it, but he was unable to open his mouth wide enough.

Lisa Schott is an apprentice with Happinest Wildlife Rehabilitation & Rescue. The group is licensed volunteers who work to rehab wildlife. Schott explained with the fishing line still wrapped around its beak, the blue heron cannot eat the fish he would normally would.

“He can eat very small fish, so he can eat minnows, maybe small crustaceans if he can find them,” said Schott.

After close to 45 minutes of working with nets on poles, wildlife officials were unsuccessful and the blue heron ended up flying away, across the river, to an area they cannot reach him.

“When he is back on this side we will take a large net and put it down — then lure him over with fish,” said Schott. She said they will have to cut off the line, because it will not slide right off its beak. The main concern now is that the blue heron will not be able to eat enough, become emaciated, and eventually unable to fly.

Volunteers with Happinest and wildlife officials with the TWRA will continue monitoring the area for the next few days to see if they can rescue the blue heron.

 

Rescuers struggle to save blue heron with fishing line wrapped around its beak | WTVC.

Source: Rescuers struggle to save blue heron with fishing line wrapped around its beak | WTVC

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