If you hook a pelican or any other seabird by mistake, Florida wildlife officials want anglers to know it’s important not to cut the line. Craig Faulhaber is the Avian Conservation Coordinator with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. He says to start, it’s better to reel the bird in slowly and evenly.
“And, use a net to lift it out of the water and then you can firmly grasp the bird with one hand behind the eyes, sort of gently fold up the wings, and firmly hold the bird against your body, so it can’t flap its wings,” said Faulhaber. “And, then you can sort of push the hook through, cut off the barb, and then back the hook out. And, then if the bird doesn’t show any signs of distress, you can release the bird.”
In other words, he says simply, reel, remove and release. Pelicans are typically caught in these hooks. Faulhaber says if the line is cut, the bird could fly away, become entangled in the line, and entangle other birds as well. And, he adds that could lead to death or injury.
But if you don’t feel up to the task, take the bird to a local rehabilitator or contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).
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