People urged to properly dispose of trash after bird found with beak sealed shut from entanglement

HERNANDO BEACH, Fla. — People in coastal areas are urging fishermen and boaters to dispose of fishing line and trash properly for the sake of wildlife. 

Many docks actually have places where people can dispose of their used fishing line so wildlife doesn’t get caught in it. 

"There’s a lot of this junk just laying around and people think, let me just throw it down, its nothing. But some little animal is going to come along and this is going to be his death," said Patricia Roebuck, a Wildlife Rescue Volunteer. 

Laura Ghent says she saw a struggling bird behind The Weaver Group Realty in Hernando Beach last week. 

"The first night that I saw the bird it was on the ground and trying to get that material off its beak," said Ghent. 

Ghent called Roebuck and after a week of trying to rescue the bird, she was finally successful. 

"I took my fingernail to open the beak and it was actually sealed shut like it had been glued," said Roebuck. 

Roebuck says fiberglass cloth used to patch boats had sealed the bird’s beak shut. She says after an hour of working on the bird to remove the material and then feeding him, she was able to release the little guy.

"He would have died, so I felt really good last night knowing that he had his stomach full and then he flew off after his wings were dry. It was a nice sight," said Roebuck. 

Roebuck says she does five to six rescues every week and hopes people will pay more attention to small trash.

"Just pick it up and put it in your pocket. It may seem like nothing to you but to a little animal with a tiny beak, it's a lot. It's death," said Roebuck. 

FWC urges anyone who notices sick or injured wildlife to call their 24-hour hotline to report it at 888-404-FWCC(3922).

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