A Threat To Birds; Fishing Line, Lures, and Hooks

Being a lover of nature, which includes birds, insects, plants, and wildflowers, and also a person who enjoys kayak fishing, this post is hard to write. The last thing one wants to do is sound preachy and I’m also one who realizes that sometimes “___” just happens and it’s really no ones fault.


Having said that, let this post be a reminder to us all, whether birders, fishermen, or just lovers of nature, to do our best to remove fishing line, hooks, and lures from shoreline trees and bushes as well as to pick up and properly dispose of other potentially harmful and unsightly litter when we see it. Realized that not all misplaced fishing tackle resulting from an errant cast can be recovered,  this is a call to all fishermen to reduce the likelihood of a lost lure or hook by being mindful when casting, realizing that an errant cast may leave a lethal hazard in a shoreline bush or tree.


The pictures below, taken while paddling on Griggs Reservoir this morning, do not represent an isolated case. Over the years while exploring the shorelines of central Ohio’s reservoirs, my wife Donna and I have seen fishing line wrapped around their legs of herons as well as waterfowl with hooks in their bills.  In the case below the victim was a Black-crowned Night Heron one of the unique, beautiful, and not real common, birds that call Griggs Reservoir home.


A Black-crowned Night Heron checks us out as well paddle north on the reservoir today, (Donna)

B IMG_5774

Black-crowned Night Heron along Griggs Reservoir (from a previous post).


A little further north the scene wasn’t as cheerful.


A bird suspended slightly above the water’s surface by fishing line, (Donna)


While not a fate we would wish on any bird it was particularly depressing to see that it was a Black-crowned Night Heron, (Donna)



What happened? Did it just become tangled in the line? (Donna)


Closer examination revealed that the bird had become impaled on the hooks of a fishing lure. The lure was removed to prevent any addition casualties. We were left wondering exactly how it happened, not that it really mattered. (Donna)


A special thanks to my wife Donna who took the picture at my insistence. It was not a pleasant experience for her. Not every story ends happily but some just need to be told. Thanks for stopping by.


Griggs Reservoir SM Bass, released after photo.



7 Comments on “A Threat To Birds; Fishing Line, Lures, and Hooks

  1. You are so right about lost fishing lines and hooks. I have found dead birds washed up on beaches entangled with nylon fishing line so that they have been unable to fly or to feed; and clusters of potentially dangerous hooks, weights, and lures on the strand where people in bare feet can tread on them. Thank you for drawing attention to this problem.

  2. I am a fisherman, conservationist, park ranger…and this definitely is a problem. Fisherman just need to try really, really hard to recover any lost lures, line, up in trees, from snags, etc.

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