[Tweeters] Yellow-billed loon swallowed fish w/line and poss. lead sinker

Virginia R, Gumm ggloon at msn.com
Tue Mar 10 22:02:40 PDT 2009


The first-year juvenile Yellow-billed loon at Chief Joseph Dam most likely swallowed a fish with trailing/broken fishing line on March 9th at 13:42 pm. We observed it struggling with splash-diving, mouth-gapping and continuous shaking of its head. We then noted on our images that it had swallowed a fish with broken fishing line and the fishing line has an attached lead sinker and small swivel about 12 inches from its bill. We are very concerned that this juvenile may have already swallowed lead and/or will swallow the remaining trailing fishing line w/sinker. The mortality rate of WA common loons is 57% for fishing-related mortalities. Lead toxicosis is the leading cause of mortalities followed by fishing line and fishing net entanglement.

It is unfortunate that this Yellow-billed loon is wintering in an area that is also popular with fishermen and that it may possibly have swallowed lead fishing gear. If so, symptions of lead toxicosis will develop in about one to two weeks. The YELO needs to be followed and if signs of lead toxicosis are seen, such as ataxia when doing wing flaps, unable to hold up its head, and "beaching" on the shoreline in the later stages, please notify us along with WDFW.

Many people have traveled some distances to observe this YELO juvenile. Hopefully, it will survive this fishing-related incident.

Ginger Gumm and Daniel Poleschook, Jr.
ggloon at msn.com<about:blank>
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