A Naples resident named Jake was out fishing near Rookery Bay and found a black-crowned night-heron entangled in fishing line which was wrapped around some nearby mangroves.
Once he spotted the bird, he called the von Arx Wildlife Hospital. After speaking with a staff member, Jake mentioned that he had a kayak and was willing to cross the waterway and free the bird because the only way to get to him was to approach from the water.
Before he did that, our volunteer Critter Courier Amy Shevlin met him and gave him a towel and box to contain the bird.
Jake handed off the bird to Amy and she brought the animal to the wildlife hospital.
Hospital staff members say the heron was in pretty good condition upon arrival. It had abrasions along the right wing and leg, but nothing that looked like it had constricted body parts enough to cause any extensive loss of circulation. Also, staff says, the heron did eat overnight, which is a terrific sign.
This is the second bird recently found near Rookery Bay. The other bird was a pelican that a Rookery Bay employee found. You can read more about that case right here.
How You Can Help
Please, if you or someone you know participates in angling activities utilize responsible practices. If you accidentally hook a bird, do not cut the line. Reel the bird in carefully but quickly. A bird struggling against a taut line may cause the line to break and allow the bird to fly off entangled in the hook and line.
Once the bird is reeled in, cover its head with a towel to help calm the bird. If the hook is not deeply embedded, gently push the hook through until the barb is exposed. Clip the barb and back the hook out. Step away and allow the bird time to gain its bearings and fly off.
If the hook is deeply embedded, or if the hook has been ingested, contain the bird and bring it to the wildlife hospital for immediate medical attention.
If your cast misses the mark and becomes entangled in nearby vegetation, retrieve the line. Line left behind can be deadly if an animal becomes entangled and is unable to free itself. Utilize the monofilament disposal tubes found at most boat ramps and fish cleaning stations to ensure fishing tackle is not left in the environment.
People must be willing to change their behaviors and be more aware and responsible when fishing or these types of senseless injuries will continue to occur.