Last week, Liz Holbrook, one of SBWCN'S volunteers noticed two cormorants suspended from the trees adjacent to the 101 southbound freeway near Ortega Hill and Sheffield where the cormorants nest in the Eucalyptus trees.The birds likely grabbed a fish hooked by a fisherman who then cut the line. When the birds go to roost the fishing line gets tangled in the tree limbs.
At least three birds have been hung up in this way recently. One was still alive Wednesday night. I tried to arrange rescue asking the fire department, Caltrans, Animal Control, Fish and Wildlife and even the Sheriff to dispatch the bird if it could not be cut down.The bird was dead on Friday.
Then we started getting more calls about a third bird Friday. This bird was still alive on Saturday morning as a volunteer informed me at 8:30 A.M. I spent the next 3 to 4 hours calling all the agencies again as well as the Humane Society Emergency Rescue. Because the bird was suspended approximately 100 feet high and 50 feet from the freeway, a rescue was beyond their ability. Then I began calling every tree care company in the book and found Doug Cole from Mesa Tree Care who was willing to help. Doug and our volunteer Ed Meyers gathered and transported the climbing equipment and Doug climbed up the tree on that very hot day to rescue the bird "like it was his own child" to quote Ed. Sadly, before he was able to secure the cormorant, the fishing line it was connected to snapped and the bird dropped and was killed.
Although not the outcome we had hoped for the bird is out of misery. I hope that the story will act as an educational tool notifying people who fish and catch seabirds on their lines that cutting the line is harmful, life threatening to the bird. We urge them to capture and contain the bird, and call SBWCN for rescue and transport at (805) 681-1080
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