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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rob to the Rescue

Yesterday I saved a robin from certain death.

On a lunch walk into Prospect Park I came across an American Robin entangled in kite string. The poor thing was snared by one foot and was hanging upside down in a cherry tree. The tree was small enough that I was able to pull the main branches down to where I could reach the bird. I really could have used a third arm. To keep the robin from injuring himself I held him in my left hand. With my right hand holding the tree I didn't have too many options for breaking the string, so I used my teeth. The whole time I could feel the animal's heart pounding in my hand. The string was too tangled to just untie, so I had to use my pocketknife to cut it. My close-up vision is terrible, so I had to take out my glasses, open the case and put them one while keeping a firm hold on the robin. The robin bit me a few times during the process. Either robins don't have a very strong bite or he was too exhausted to really try because it didn't hurt. I once rescued a Baltimore Oriole fledgling from the path of a lawnmower and that little thing's bite drew blood! Anyway, I managed to cut the string from the robin's leg and release him without a problem. Oh yeah, and I guess it's obvious that it wasn't too difficult because I managed to snap a few photographs.

Kite string isn't always a problem with wildlife, but discarded nylon monofilament is a disaster. Birds frequently use it in their nests and the young get entangled in it and die a slow, horrible death. If you ever find fishing line in the parks, please stick it in your pocket and throw it away when you get home. Don't throw it in the park trash cans as birds with take it out and weave it into their nests.


Pamela said...

I was in my late teens when my dad pulled the car over suddenly and raced out into the edge of the waters edge along Mcnary Dam.

He'd spotted a bird flailing around. He pulled it from the water (getting very wet) - but it died while he began to untangle it from fishing line. It was a killdeer.

I'd never thought of my dad as a softie, but I now recall how he would garden around the killdeer nests, and be disgusted when the crows took the babies.

He would have enjoyed your blog, I think. In his heart I believe there lurked a birder.

Anni said...

This post made me so happy -- you're totally my hero! And thanks for the reminder to pick up monofilament & other such materials, excellent point.

Yojimbot said...

Nice save...its truly a horrible way for them to die. I also had an ensnared robin in CP last week, but it managed to free itself by the time I had made my way to it.

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