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Disturbing Content | by Bill McMullen
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Disturbing Content

I had to post this image to raise awareness over a serious issue that threatens many types of wildlife.

On November 7th, I noticed a gull acting strange on a local beach while looking for Snow Buntings. It looked like it was pulling something then suddenly it was dragged ten feet by some unseen force. I took a few shots as I had no idea what I was witnessing. I then enlarged the image on the LCD screen on my camera and what I saw was disturbing. The gull had a fish hook in its mouth and a very long piece of fishing line was tangled around some sticks in the water that the waves would move thus dragging the poor gull with it. The gull then tried to fly and came crashing to the ground as the line tightened and pulled it down. With limited supplies (my gloves) I set my camera down and slowly approached the gull. It lay down as if it were dead and allowed me to approach. I found the end of the line and got as close as I could before I cut it about a foot from its mouth. The young gull took off and I gathered up all the line and put it in the garbage. If I had more time I would have taken the gull to the Wild Bird Rescue Centre but I had to get back to work.

The total lack of respect of some people makes me ill. I often pick up yards and yards of fishing line, hooks and beer bottle glass on many of my nature walks. Today, the fishing line got the best of a young Ring-billed Gull. In the past year, I have cut a duck loose from fishing line and a duckling. I have also photographed an Osprey with fishing line hanging off its right leg wrapped in weeds. I grew up fishing and often take my son fishing as it is a great way to connect to the outdoors but responsibility is paramount. Perhaps if these people saw images like this then they might think twice about throwing their line on the ground. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

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Taken on November 7, 2012