Saturday, October 1, 2011

Another hazard of discarded line...

This morning we responded to a call from the Moss Landing Harbormaster. They'd had a report of two cormorants hanging from an old abandoned pier. One was still alive.

We were on scene within thirty minutes, and were quickly escorted by boat to the platform.

As we got close, we could see the structure was being used by Brandt's cormorants as a nesting site - there were about twenty or so empty nests - rounded, shallow mounds of seaweed and grasses, covered in a thick layer guano.

Sadly, we found both birds were dead. 

We discovered something really interesting, though. The birds' legs were tangled in fishing line, but the line was part of the material used to construct their nest! 

After cutting the bodies free and removing the remainder of exposed line, we cut tangles of fishing line from nests within reach.

How sad - the parents can't tell the difference between soft, spongy clumps of seaweed or grasses and wads of errant fishing line. 

A wad of fishing line mistaken for a clump of dried sea grass.


  1. Please tell fisher people that leaving their lines behind could kill the cormorant; explain why. Get the message to fishing associations, fishing stores, posted signs—whatever it takes.

  2. I am sure that could happen at the Malibu Pier - will pass this along to our city council.

  3. Thanks Susan - This in particular is related to nest building by cormorants. I am not sure the pier has any active cormorant nest sites but certainly the local population might find discarded line there.

  4. Once again you're right in there when the need arises.
    Bless you for being such a devoted and unselfish animal advocate.

    I too, will notify the City Council...they probably don't even know what the hell a Cormorants is.. no surprise, it took them 25 years to realize that there is a bird sanctuary at the Creek...Why???because it meant that they had to identify a bird, never mind naming them.