Covid trash

Robin entangled in surgical mask
This Canadian robin was found entangled in one of the billions of blue surgical masks used and discarded during the Covid-19 pandemic. Sandra Denisuk, A.-F. Hiemstra et al/Animal Biology 2021

Well the list of covid related problems just keeps growing. Researchers in the Netherlands have been documenting a lot of wildlife which are being killed by discarded masks and latex gloves. They are also inviting individuals from all over the world to post their own observations of wildlife that has been affected by covid waste. (Negatively or positively – many animals are dying while some birds have been using masks and gloves in nest building.)

You can find their website, see the results, and make your own report here: https://www.covidlitter.com/

A story about it in Science News can be found here: Science News Covid Trash Article

Our volunteers are very diligent about pickup up trash as well as fishing line. While a mask is dangerous until we find it, we usually find and remove them pretty quickly, thus reducing the danger. So far we have not found any wildlife entangled in covid litter at Lake Hodges.

If you would like to help us – at Lake Hodges or at your own local fishing area – please contact me.

Spring status at Lake Hodges

Lake Hodges has been open to fishing for over two months now. We have a number of new volunteers and we are able to cover the entire lakeshore almost every week. It would be good if we could do it twice a week – after the weekend of fishing and after Wednesday fishing – but we’re getting there.

I looked back through my records and the last egret we found hooked or entangled was in 2019! That is good progress. Birds such as cormorants and coots will try to take the bait from fishing line that is still in use by the fishermen. The fishermen could reel those birds in and remove the hook or take them to wildlife rehab, but most just cut them loose and leave them to die. This is something that I think we can reduce through education. We still lose grebes to underwater fishing line entanglement, but fewer of them. Finding and removing underwater line is a challenge. We are actually getting pretty good at it along the shoreline, but offshore underwater line is a problem that we have not yet solved.

If you would like to help us proactively save birds and wildlife by removing threats from their habitat, then we can sure use your help. Training is provided. Contact me for more information.