DDBIRD3.JPG (41955 bytes) A Warning about Fishooks

Barbed fishhooks are more dangerous.

Fishhooks are routinely made with barbs to hold them in place. Immediate additional injury results from attempts to remove this type of hook.

For example, for the publics’ safety this lure was removed from the carcas. This took 5 minutes, during which the rhamphotheca (the chitinous sheath of the beak) came off, and the webs of both feet were torn.

When you fish it’s safer for everyone - you, your companions, the birds and the undersized fish you’ll want to throw back so they grow bigger - if you bend back the barbs on your hooks. Use needle-nosed pliers for this. Attend your line at all times. When something bites just keep tension on the line and you’ll land your catch.
DDBIRD2.JPG (76901 bytes) Dead Bird Continued

Turning the carcass I was shocked to see the cause of the gull’s death. After being hooked in the mandible (nose) chasing this lure, the gull struggled to get free and hooked both its feet on the other gangs.

The slightly brown color of the feathers establishes this as a two-year-old Western Gull, Larus occidentalis. 
dead-bird.jpg (22603 bytes) Dead Bird

There are usually two or three dead birds on this beach at a time. 

In nature most organisms are on the brink of starvation, and half do starve to death. Specifically, half of birds die by the end of the first winter, before they learn to feed themselves. 

This death is unusual, though. This bird is older. From its pink feet, size and the time of year, 6-29-02, I know it’s a Western Gull. I wonder what killed it?

The Turkey Vultures have done their thing. They slit the skin, ate the muscle, and left the rest.  In a few weeks the body won’t be easily noticed, any more. In a few months it will be reduced to microscopic pieces, part of the detritus that filter feeders eat.
Windy_Godwit1.JPG (44438 bytes) Marbled Godwits are the most common birds in the Cove from mid-July to mid-April. They next in marshy grassland in south-central Canada. Their long pink bills with black tips point slightly upwards "toward God". 
(Photo By Carol Medine Moss)  
Willet.JPG (24300 bytes) Western Willets are common most of the year in the Cove. They are smaller (15 inches) gray and have shorter beaks than Godwits and Curlews. 
(Photo By Carol Medine Moss)
Windy_Curlew.jpg (82275 bytes) Long-billed Curlews are similar to Godwits, but larger (23 vs 18 inches).  Their huge  bills curve downward. 
(Photo By Carol Medine)
whtpelicans.jpg (40181 bytes) White Pelicans 
WhitePelicansFeeding.jpg (45541 bytes) White Pelicans Feeding
WhitePelicansSwimming.jpg (40798 bytes) White Pelicans Swimming
Cagull5.jpg (85304 bytes) California Gull
cagullvswillet.jpg (108422 bytes) California Gull versus Willet
Heerman'sgull2.jpg (84935 bytes) Heerman's Gull

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Revised Monday, February 18, 2008 02:25:43 PM