Hooked on Pelicans and Cormorants

These patients are reminders of the dangers of fishing gear for wildlife. Yesterday a laughing gull was found hooked and tangled in mono-filament caught in the trees. A resident saw it, FWC rescued it, and it’s now free of gear and doing well, soon to be released again. It’s lucky it was high tide when the gull got tangled: he could float instead of hang from the branch.








Earlier in the week, a local fisherman had a cormorant fly into his gear and get tangled in a treble hook and lure. This fisherman did everything right! He reeled the bird in, contained it and brought it to us right away. The cormorant was ready to release the next day!

Whenever fishing, take any loose gear with you. If you hook a bird, DO NOT cut the line. Reel the bird in and remove the hook and line or bring to a rehabber for assistance.




Be responsible with fishing supplies and catches

Fishing hooks and line are a constant threat to our wildlife. Sea birds are often killed or severely injured when entangled in discarded fishing line and nets. Simply cleaning up and properly discarding your left-over line, hooks and netting will keep all animals safer.

Do not cut the line if you hook a bird. Get an extra person to help. Wear eye protection (sunglasses) if available. Slowly reel the bird in, cover its eyes, carefully remove the hook and release the bird (click here for complete guide). If you are uncomfortable or do not feel safe doing so, or if the animal is injured, please call us for help right away at 941-637-3830. The bird’s life depends on it.

Please do not feed Pelicans or any animal your scrap fish carcasses. Most fish are too large to swallow, even small fish bones can get stuck when not surrounded by soft tissue. Pelicans eat smaller bait fish. Large spines on the fish carcasses will tear their gullets or get caught in their throats making them unable to regurgitate the fish. Don’t kill them with kindness. It is never a good idea to feed wildlife causing them to associate humans with food. I found an injured animal, now what?