Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

January 28, 2009

How to kill a cormorant

Filed under: Birds, curiosities, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch — richditch @ 3:47 pm
Neotropic Cormorant and fishing line

Neotropic Cormorant and fishing line

There’s no nice way to deal with this topic, so I’ll just be blunt as I often am. This Neotropic Cormorant is dead because someone didn’t dispose of their used fishing line properly or responsibly. Shame on whoever this was.

I was about to leave the Water Ranch in Gilbert, AZ, on Monday morning when another couple insisted I come see the “cormorant caught in the tree.” When I got to the spot (the largest tree along the trails and a favorite roost for cormorants and night-herons) I saw this nasty sight. The bird was still moving, but only for a few moments. The tree is on a small island, separated from the trail by a wide channel of reclaimed waste water and thick mesquite brambles. The cormorant was 25-30 feet above and out on the thinnest bare branches. Forty years ago I might have been able to get up to the bird, but all I could do was take photos to document this senseless and unnecessary death.

I sent the image to the ranger for the Water Ranch, who replied:

Thank you.  We did know about the cormorant and we actually took a fisherman back to show what happens when birds and fishing line tangle.  He is a regular and will communicate how to deal with birds that may get hooked or tangled so they don’t end up like the bird you saw.

I wish I could have done more.



  1. Well said, Rich.

    I hope the fisherman also communicates the most important message to his colleagues, which is if you make a mistake and lose some line, it is your responsibility to CLEAR UP AFTER YOURSELF!

    It’s the same message we usually drum into three year olds…

    Comment by Richard Fray — January 28, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

  2. Thanks Richard for bringing this to the public’s attention. We have that problem up here in Prescott. I had to do a Rescue of a goose here with the help of as associate to free a goose with a hook in its leg.. Hook, line and swivel. Was hurting this guy

    Comment by John Hardison — January 28, 2009 @ 4:20 pm

  3. Hi Rich,

    We were at the GWR yesterday morning and found another cormorant dead in a tree. It really is sad. Thank you for bringing it to the attention of the ranger.

    Comment by Robin McEntire — February 2, 2009 @ 3:34 pm

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