UPDATE: Mama Bird Released to Wild, but Baby Bird Doesn’t Make It

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


Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Michele B.
Michele B3 years ago

my husband and 12 y/o son and I go hiking a fair amount. Every time we go and every place we go, we constantly find trash. We always pick it up as we always carry a bag with us just for this purpose any more as well as plastic disposable gloves that I get from a friend of mine that works for a medical office. She gave me some that the office decided they didn't like after they got them. People leave their homes and they feel they don't have to act responsible any more I guess. They check their morals and habits at the front door as the leave and off they go. Such a sad state of affairs any more. And all it's doing is teaching the youngsters that they in turn can go ahead and do it and it will be O.K. for them with no repercussion.

Angev GERIDONI3 years ago

I would like to thank all Care2 members who already signed our petition. if no, please help give an happy end to that sad story :
Care 2

The saturday august 2nd 2014, we had a great new, Paul Watson the SEA SHEPHERD boss, while taking a break in Paris, has shown its support to the horses of Pétropolis : ♡ Paul Watson support

Thank you for caring

Patricia Guilhem
Patricia Guilhem3 years ago

Quelle tristesse !!! :( :( :(

Rosalie H. Kaye
Rosalie H. Kaye3 years ago

How sad that the baby died- hopefully the Mama bird will be able to produce more babies and they will live without these terrible human made disasters like fishing lines- I just hope the pain was not too bad for the birds. The fishermen are not careful enough.

Renata B.
Renata B3 years ago

So sad for the poor baby. We humans are really the scum of the earth. Fishing lines and hooks used to kill innocent fish and left around to maim and kill birds, mammals etc. We are really a disaster. Human Karma; no good at all, in spite of the dedicated people who work to save and heal.

Maria Teresa Schollhorn

Thanks for sharing.

Maggie D.
Maggie D3 years ago

So sorry the chick didn't make it but so glad the mother did. We humans have so much to answer for. It has taken our government years, here in the UK, to finally bring in laws to make supermarkets charge for plastic bags, that cause such devastation to wildlife. Even now the law won't come into force until next year!

Shirley S.
Shirley S3 years ago

A few years ago I rescued two Pee Wees linked together by nylon line that actually was through their bodies. One was dead & one survived trying to fly while it's sibling was attached. The fluttering one alerted me to it's plight. I surrendered it to wildlife carers who have the ability to look after these protected species.

Hamburger Moscovici

Thanks for sharing