Dec 272012

 January 31, 2012 *      While lurking around the lower Whatcom Creek tidal basin, I discovered a Red-throated Loon in distress on the tiny beach. Without the proper tools to free it from the crab bait box that had snared it, I left it there and quickly returned with a blanket and knife. I also called my friend Joe Meche for backup. 













 I covered the bird with a blanket and carefully determined where it was bound. It was quite calm and allowed me to cut the noose {around its body} loose and examine it for injury. I could find no injury to its legs or wings, but it was shaking, either from shock or cold. I covered it so it could rest and be warm.

When Joe arrived we uncovered it and examined it again. It seemed unwilling to enter the water, so we helped it to the shoreline. Once there, it quickly escaped and made its way down stream towards Bellingham Bay. It drank, stretched its wings, and dove a few times … looking quite well.

















February 2, 2012 * Two days later I got a call from Joe. He had found another ensnared Red-throated Loon. This time it was on a beach at the Padden Lagoon, Fairhaven, some 4 miles from the previous incident. When I arrived, Joe was donning his rubber boots. We relocated the bird on a different beach. As we approached it appeared as though it would escape into the water where rescue would be impossible. We hailed a couple of folks in kayaks to cut off that escape route. The loon was tangled in some gill net that had been carelessly discarded by a commercial fisher.













We captured the bird. Joe held it while I cut it free. It was thoroughly entangled and would not have survived. Once free of the netting, it was anxious to be released. We determined that it was uninjured, and set it free. It quickly swam away from us, putting up a rooster tail. When it felt safe, away from us, it hauled out on a mud island and had a snooze, exhausted from its ordeal.



 Posted by at 1:38 pm

  2 Responses to “Red-throated Loons Rescues”

  1. Thank you Douglas for caring so much .. I have freed an entangled scrub jay from some netting and I was so glad that I didnt hurt the poor thing .. It was sure glad to get away from me once freed ..

  2. Thank you Doug and Joe for your timely rescues of the loons. We are fortunate to have such caring and knowledgeable birders like you and Joe in our community.

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