Moody Blue’s bill

April 20, 2015 0 By Audrey

I learned something today. I learned that it is nearly impossible to capture a Great Blue Heron. No, I did not attempt this feat. And neither did anyone else. Allow me to explain.

I went birding at Commonwealth Lake Park yesterday, and came across a few Great Blue Herons. As per usual, when I see these magnificent birds near the water’s edge, I try to walk by slowly and “unintentionally” so as not to flush them.

I succeeded and got some great shots of this one. I’ll call him Moody. Moody Blue Heron.

Moody Blue

It wasn’t until I got home and examined the pictures more closely, that I noticed Moody’s bill. See it?…fishing line. Ultimate sad face.

Moody's billIn another angle the lure is visible.

Lure visible

I am incredibly bummed that I didn’t notice at the time (though I’m not quite sure what I could have done), but once I did realize I immediately contacted Audubon Wildlife Care Center. They asked if the bird was able to fly. If they could get ahold of it they could do something. Since I hadn’t flushed the bird, I didn’t know if it could fly or not.

I contacted Tualitin Hills Parks and Rec District next since they oversee Commonwealth Lake Park and this how I found out one of the biggest issues with wildlife capture is the animals “won’t allow themselves to be caught.” Natural Resources Specialist, Greg Creager, responded sincerely and thoughtfully to my concern about Moody, but he explained that unless the bird is immobile, the ability to capture these large powerful birds with sharp beaks is close to zero. Disheartening, but understandable.

He says they will keep an eye out, and they’ll continue working the problem from the front end: get people to clean up after themselves. Biodegradable fishing line, anyone?

Coincidentally, in the mail today, I received donation request documents from the Audubon Wildlife Care Center. I made a donation online in honor of Moody Blue. Hopefully it’ll help another bird somewhere.

To Moody,

Tweets and chirps