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Monofilament Team rescues anhinga

By REFUGE / DDWS - | Jan 27, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED Monofilament fishing line left in local waters and trees is a serious threat to birds and other wildlife.

Flocks of white pelicans soared overhead, while dolphins frolicked in the open water recently around the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge’s Monofilament Team. Team Leader Carolyn Bergen reported that the group of volunteers slowly worked its way along the northern shore of Green Point in Tarpon Bay.

A commotion up ahead in a tangle of mangrove roots caught the group’s attention. As it neared, it realized it had come upon an anhinga that had the misfortune of being entangled in some of the very fishing line it had come to retrieve, she reported. The imperiled bird had monofilament wrapped so tightly around one of its wings that it could not fly. Adding to its peril was the weight of the 10-inch fish that had swallowed the lure at the end of the line.

As the group neared the imperiled bird, it became increasingly agitated. One volunteer was an experienced bird handler, and he deftly tucked the body under his arm while grabbing the neck with his free hand, Bergen reported. They worked quickly to untangle most of the line from the wing, and with a quick snip of the scissors, the bird regained enough range of motion to take flight. The group retrieved the monofilament and lure and continued on to look for more surprises up ahead.

For more information, visit Mine Your Line at https://mindyourline.org.