Re: SIPO - leg injuries

Subject: Re: SIPO - leg injuries
From: "Dean Portelli" <>
Date: Wed, 07 Jan 2004 15:13:31 +1100
Chris & others,

I suspect the cause of missing toes/lower legs in Oystercatchers is a result of entanglement with fishing line. One often finds strands of this stuff along the beach, which is also where the birds forage. Missing toes/lower legs in Silver Gulls are often caused by entanglement with fishing line.

Back to Oystercatchers, there is a pair of Pied Oystercatchers that regularly nest on a sandspit at the Bega River estuary in southern New South Wales. One season the adult pair were in fine health, the next season accompanied by their two offspring, one of the adults had developed a limp and had a swollen 'foot', on closer inspection the bird's toes and lower foot had become entangled with fishing line and had become swollen, the bird could not use the foot properly and I am sure in time it will become gangrenous and the bird will lose it (in fact, this has probably already happened as it was last season that I observed the birds).

I have also come across a beachwashed Wedge-Tailed Shearwater that had become entangled with fishing line. The fishing line had tied the bird's feet together and was also wrapped around a wing.

A colleague of mine has told me about a pair of Magpies that nest in his area that have come to using fishing line as nesting material. As a result the fledged young have feet entangled in the fishing line, and lose toes as a result.

And these are only land-based observations of problems with fishing line!!!!!! Horrible stuff!

Cheers, Dean

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