I cannot stress strongly enough the service you will be doing for wildlife by picking up derelict fishing line and gear whenever and wherever you encounter it. A little over a month ago, a seal released by PAWS lost her life when she became entangled in fishing line and tackle offshore in Edmonds, WA, and here at the wildlife center we see a steady stream of patients suffering from ingested hooks or line-entanglement injuries. The most recent of these patients was a male Lesser Scaup.
The scaup had been found sitting on a beach with a fishing hook stuck in his bill and line tangled around his body. The line had caused abrasions on the leading edge of both wings, and the bird was thin, weak and dehydrated from struggling to free himself. He also had very dirty and disheveled feathers from his ordeal. After receiving several days of care at Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on San Juan Island, the scaup was transferred to PAWS for additional care.
It took about two weeks for the Lesser Scaup to regain his strength and completely restore his waterproofing. He was reluctant to eat while in captivity, so his meals were delivered mostly via a gavage tube. His wounds healed well and he began to dive, swim and generally behave as a wild scaup should. He was returned to the wild on April 17. He accepted his second chance eagerly, and we hope that he will not have a repeat encounter with derelict fishing gear in the future. I hope that you will do your part to make that possible.