Posted on the 29th September 2012

Two papers which highlight the problems caused to birds by abandoned fishing gear were published in OO yesterday evening --- one is the tragic story of an entangled Bank Cormorant chick that took more than 88 hours to die after falling out of its nest and dangling over the edge at the end of a piece of fishing line, and the other is the lucky escape story of a Cape Cormorant that was found before serious bodily damage had occurred.

Please talk about the content of these papers, and be creative in pointing them out to people whom you think need to be aware of these issues --- we all need to play our role in reducing the amount of debris in the oceans.

You go to the Ornithological Observations website --- --- click on "current volume" --- then the new papers are the top two --- you click on "pdf" to download them.

While you are on the OO website, have a look around the other papers. Most are based on "ornithological observations" made by birders. Several started out in life as reports on the birdnets. If you see anything interesting, please consider writing it up for OO. Atlaser Arnold van der Westhuizen is editor.

Many thanks
Professor Les Underhill Animal Demography Unit


PROF. LES UNDERHILL (posted: 2012-09-29)
Hi Lucia
The answer, sadly, was no, it was not possible to rescue the chick. This was the consensus after a long discussion with the people mentioned in the first line of the Acknowledgements: "Nola Parsons, Tim Cook, Richard Sherley and Rob Crawford gave advice to the authors at the time of the entanglement." (To go to the paper directly, use and click on pdf.)
We would have lost the entire breeding productivity of the Bank Cormorant colony on Robben Island this year if we had tried to resue this single chick. It was ruddy awful to have to stand by and watch the process.
This is a species that is hugely sensitive to disturbance.
LUCIA RODRIQUES (posted: 2012-09-29)
It begs the question; was 88 hours not long enough to come up with a plan to rescue the chick?