Injuries To Our Wild Birds

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One very big problem for the Florida Brown Pelican is from a discarded filleted fish carcass that is tossed to a pelican while the fisherman was cleaning his catch. Filleted fish carcasses create several problems for the brown pelican. Several birds will lunge to get this carcass, so eyes are at danger by each others beaks. Secondly, the fish carcass gets stuck in the bird's throat which will keep it from eating its natural diet. Lastly, the pelican's natural diet is a small bait fish found on the surface of the water. This small bait fish has small soft bones and are easily digested by the pelican. The large bones of a filleted fish carcass are too dense and become septic in the bird's stomach leading to a slow needless death.

Please do not feed filleted fish carcasses to the brown pelican. As of 2010 it is now illegal to feed fish carcasses to the wild birds.

Helpful recommendations to avoid injuries to our Wild Birds in the Florida Keys

The mission of the Marathon Wild Bird Center is the rescue and rehabilitation of injured and orphaned birds for eventual release into the wild.

We strive to reduce the suffering of injured or ill wild birds and, through education, reduce the environmental hazards that place these birds at risk.

Keys birds face many problems such as reduced fish populations, power lines, unattended baited hooks and discarded monofilament line. To enjoy the beauty of our wild birds, we must protect them now. Here are some things you can do to help.

Large bones and carcasses can cause major problems for birds, often puncturing their throats or stomachs. Their digestive systems are not designed to deal with fish larger than the ones they could catch themselves. Please do not throw large fish carcasses to the birds when you are cleaning fish.

Be careful with your fishhooks and monofilament line. These can mean disaster for birds. Dispose of all fishing line in a safe place, never in the water. A good web site related to recycling of monofilament fishing line is:

If you should accidentally hook a bird, do not let it fly off. The bird could become entangled and die as a result to your fishing line. The best thing to do is:

wear eye protection - especially if the bird is a heron!

gently wind the bird towards you.

place a towel over the head of the bird or bill to protect both you and the bird.

with pliers or wire cutters, cut the barb off the hook - then maneuver the hook out of the bird.

Contact us 305-743-8382 if:

a bird has swallowed a hook. Be sure not to cut any of the fishing line, this extra line helps us retrieve the hook.

a bird has become so entangled that you cannot remove the line.

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