Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Kingfisher Killed By Fishing Line

This rare kingfisher was killed by a hook and nylon fishing line left tangled in a tree by an angler. The bird died an agonising death - one of its wings was practically torn off as a result of its struggle to escape. Can you imagine what that must have been like? We have put a close up picture of the bird at the bottom of this post. It is not for the squeamish, but we thought people ought to see it.

It's an unfortunate fact that far too much debris and litter is being left by anglers and others along the Frome. A Canada goose was found with a hook in its gullet and two foot of line hanging from its mouth a few months ago. It was rescued fortunately or it could have been another fatal casualty. We would ask everyone who uses the area to be very careful and take all their rubbish with them and to not fish under trees. If line does get caught please remove it. Just think of the suffering that might result if you do not do this. Surely spending some time collecting fishing line is better than having the death of a rare and beautiful bird on your conscience.

A large amount of hooks and line have been cleared from the river in the last couple of years by Snuff Mills Action Group members but we can't do it all. Please respect this precious environment!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's heartbreaking how that poor animal must've suffered. Well done on your efforts clearing fishing debris. I hope people see this and remember to take lines etc home with them.

Grove said...

It's heartbreaking how fellow humans can be so ignorant to leave such a danger to wildlife, especially in the same habitat they presumably get some enjoyment. There are of course some very responsible people who fish but I am very concerned about the type of people who come to this stretch of the river and think fishing should be banned given this incident alone.

stevem said...

Most anglers are very responsible and they both enjoy the wildlife and care about it.

There are just a few people who both leave their fishing lines and rubbish behind on the riverbank, just like there are a few dog owners who don't clear up after their dog.

So no activity should be banned - snuff Mills is for everyone - we just have to be responsible.

Anonymous said...

This is awful. That poor bird must have suffered terribly and all because some ignorant fool couldn't be bothered to wade in and take home the line that had got caught in the trees.
Shame on him!
We have the same problem with fishermen at the St Georges Park lake. There are always birds hanging dead from fishing line. At the moment it is a collared dove, last month it was a gull.
The RSPCA have been out to catch a swan with line and hook in his beak and a mallard has lost her leg due to line.
I find many of the fishermen in St George rude and aggressive if you politely ask them to take their line and rubbish home.
They are often camping, lighting fires and drinking in the park and seem to treat the lake as their own private fishing lake. But it should be for everyone to enjoy!
The council just don't seem to be interested. I think we should all write to the council and keep nagging them over this as the fishermen dont seem to be able to police their own! why should the birds suffer?

stevem said...

The Evening Post have covered this distressing tale:

http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/news/Bristol-expert-s-plea-anglers-kingfisher-dead/article-1873047-detail/article.html

Here's the piece:

A kingfisher expert is appealing for anglers to tidy up after themselves after he discovered a female had been killed by fishing line.

Ian Llewellyn, 32, was contacted by a member of the public saying they had spotted a dead female kingfisher which had been caught in discarded fishing tackle on the River Frome by Snuff Mills.

Mr Llewellyn says the majority of anglers fish responsibly but that those not clearing away their rubbish should realise the serious damage they can do to their environment.

Kingfishers are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. They are a rare bird in the UK with about 5,000 breeding and are highly vulnerable to human activity on rivers.

"The big problem is that we are currently coming into breeding season," Mr Llewellyn said.

"Between Snuff Mills and Oldbury Court there are two females and one male and we have just lost one of those females which is going to have a huge effect on breeding.

"It's just ignorance and a lack of respect for our environment. People have left their line and tackle and have killed a kingfisher who was about to start breeding. It's impossible to say exactly what happened but I think she has got her wing caught on a hook left hanging in a tree.

"It will not have been a quick death and for her to die like this is a tragedy. It will have been a particularly harrowing to go for a little bird like this.

"I have been for walks and seen anglers fishing and when I have returned they have left all their litter. If we all did that we would have no environment."

Phil Seymour, secretary of the Keynsham Angling Association, said: "A majority of anglers are responsible but there are cases when line gets caught on bushes and trees and is not removed.

"If this happens the angler should make every effort to remove the line.

"If it is not possible they should contact the angling association responsible for the site or the Environment Agency.

He said anglers and members of the public needed to be aware that line and litter can be dangerous for wildlife.

"It's all about passing on information and acting responsibly to ensure that we all protect the environment so we and future generations can enjoy it."

A book called Kingfisher will be published in October consisting of photographs and study information gathered by Mr Llewellyn on Bristol rivers.

It was written by natural history writer David Chandler