A Seagull's Demise

I wanted to add a post to the fishing section here on my blog about something disturbing I saw over the weekend.  It was on a public pier with your standard lighthouse feature at the end.  In an otherwise beautiful day, with perfect blue skies and billowy clouds there was the all too common sight of a seagull snagged on fishing line. 
He was just roosting on top of a sign post with what initially appeared like a broken wing.  As I got much closer, I was horrified to find that not only was there fishing line wrapped about its foot severing it, but also a shiny half-moon shaped object on top on the gulls head, which turned out to be part of a hook.  At first it went undetected, but soon I noticed that one eye was hooked as well.  This is horrible!  I went to a couple of people close by for help, and they didn’t seem too concerned, and actually made a joke like “its like a lip ring” .  I wasn’t laughing…in fact I couldn’t get this poor thing out of my mind.  Maybe it’s just me. I was told that my ‘heart break wasn’t helping the animal”  The truth is, they’re right.  What good did feeling sorry for the bird help it in anyway?  So here’s my tiny contribution …at least I’ll feel better about it, even if this may be the last day of the gull’s life..
First of all, if you are a fisherman and you’ve accidentally snagged a bird, here’s how to remove the hook.


Reel the bird in very slowly. If you accidentally caught a bird with your fishing line, you must ensure that no further damage is done. Reeling the bird in quickly causes injuries, such as ripping the skin or frightening the bird, which leads to flailing and injuring itself more. Stop reeling in the bird once it is about 6 feet from the boat or shore.

Instruct another person to toss a casting net or hoop into the water near the bird. Throw bait or fish into the casting net or hoop, which coaxes the bird into going near the net.
Pull the net up once the bird is at least three-quarters of the way inside the net. Pull the fishing line up at the same time as the other person pulls up the net. This ensures that the hook is not pulled inside the skin or the bill of the bird.
Bring the bird inside the boat or on the shore. Have one person grab the bird's skull. Seagulls have small heads; grab the bird behind the eyes, not at the neck.
Place a towel or a cloth over the head while one person is still firmly holding the skull behind the eyes.
Hold the wings flat against the body to avoid flapping. Have the person holding the bird's head hold the wings down as well.
Locate the hook by looking over the body of the bird or following the fishing line to the hook. If the hook is in the wing, extend that wing while keeping the other wing flat against the body.

Push the hook through the skin until the barb of the hook is exposed. Cover the barb to avoid losing it, then cut the barb with wire cutters. Gently remove the hook from the skin.
Look over the bird to ensure there are no additional injuries.

One last comment, I am aware that fishermen are responsible for the most part, and DO actually take precautions to avoid injuring any animals and cleaning up the lines if they are snagged.  Saying that though, it just stands to reason that if there are birds around a dock area, don’t cast your line.  Just don’t do it, please.  In fact, take a few minutes to rethink your fishing spots to be completely away from public areas, piers, and marinas where the birds usually like to congregate.   
Honestly I am not crazy about seagulls and I know that nature can be cruel, but birds just shouldn’t have to survive a man-made fishing sport in order to move on to the next generation.  That’s just not natural selection.