Last month,†Care2 reported on a tragic incident in Southern California where a mama Elegant Tern and her chick were discovered hooked together by a fishing lure. International Bird Rescue (IBR) took the wayward pair in and successfully performed surgery to separate them.
Although the prognosis was guarded and the mama and baby Elegant Terns only had a 50/50 chance of survival, it still saddens the heart to learn mama tern survived but her chickís injuries were too severe. He succumbed to an infection which had already set in when they were found. Thereís no way of knowing how long they were attached and suffering before they were discovered.
After a few weeks of rehabilitation, mama tern was returned back to the wild. Watch the video below of her release. It took her about 13 seconds to decide to fly away after she was let out of the carrier. At the risk of sounding anthropomorphic, I wonder if she was waiting for her baby to join her.
The sad thing is this could have been avoided. Whether you fish for food or sport, do the responsible thing and clean up after yourself.† Fishing lines and lures contribute to far too many deaths and injuries of aquatic birds. Not all fishermen are negligent but as IBR observes, most of the birds they help are injured by fishing paraphernalia.
And if you frequent shorelines, donít be afraid to pick up plastic and other trash you see scattered on the sand. It shouldnít matter if the trash isnít yours. There is a serious crisis of aquatic birds feeding on plastic particles which leads to a slow death by starvation.
Chris Jordon has photographed albatross carcasses filled with bits of plastic on Midway Island.† His work is melancholic yet inspiring. The parents mistaking plastic pieces for food bring it home to their youngsters and feed it to them. He is making a documentary which should be released soon.
The damage and responsibility lies with humans. We have created this mess. Itís past time to start fixing it.
Photo: Used with permission by Andrew Harmon, IBR