Wire On A Bird: Fishing Line Tangled Around Blue Heron’s Leg Has McDade Park Staff, Guests Concerned

October 2, 2018
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Wire On A Bird: Fishing Line Tangled Around Blue Heron's Leg Has McDade Park Staff, Guests Concerned

SCRANTON — The bird was the first thing 10-year-old Enzo Shirtz noticed when he arrived at McDade Park on Monday evening. “Look, it’s a blue heron,” he said, pointing to the pond. The heron stood stoically on a length of white pipe just visible under the water as the sun set. Occasionally, the bird lifted its right leg, offering a glimpse of the fishing line and a weight tangled around the appendage, which has park guests and staff alike concerned about the animal. The heron started hanging around McDade Park about a month ago, said Bill Davis, deputy director of the Lackawanna County Department of Parks and Recreation. A walker at the park first reported seeing the line wrapped around the heron’s leg about two weeks ago, Davis said. Other guests to the park have since stopped by to express concern for the bird, he said. The heron is sometimes seen trying to pick the line loose using its other leg or beak, Davis said. Employees have attempted to help. Officials are also in touch with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, and game wardens have come to the park to assist, but to no avail, Davis said. “We tried to approach the bird and attempt to remove (the line), but (the heron) flies away,” Davis said. On Monday evening, the blue heron attracted attention from visitors at the park. Some watched as they walked around the pond. It was the first time Enzo — there with his brother, Anthony, 8, and his father’s girlfriend, Mary Mileto of Scranton — saw the bird. He enjoys reading books about animals and immediately recognized it from one he read about birds, he said. Mileto said she saw the bird during a walk last week but didn’t see the fishing line. They expressed sympathy for the heron and hope the line comes loose soon. Others, like Deborah Grigalunas of Scranton, stopped to sit and admire the animal. Struck by the heron’s beauty and size, she was sad to hear about its plight and hopes something more will be done to aid the bird. While the heron can fly, the fishing line could get caught on other objects and further endanger it, she said. “They need to do something to help the bird,” she said. That’s easier said than done, Davis said. While employees there don’t want to see the bird in distress, they could make matters worse if they try too aggressively to get the line loose, he said. For instance, if they use a net to try to capture the heron, they could break one of its wings. They’re doing what they can, but officials hope the blue heron will get the line untangled on its own or it will eventually fall off, Davis said. “We don’t want to do more harm than good,” he said. Contact the writer: cover@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5363; @ClaytonOver on Twitter Bird bio COMMON NAME: Great blue heron SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ardea herodias DIET: Carnivore — mostly fish but also mice, insects and other small creatures. GROUP NAME: Colony AVERAGE LIFE SPAN IN WILD: 15 years SIZE: Body, 3.2 to 4.5 feet; wingspan, 5.5 to 6.6 feet WEIGHT: 4.6 to 7.3 pounds SOURCE: NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

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