Tough Times On The Road For Birds

A dead gull lies along the Minnesota Highway 61 Scenic Highway with a fishing lure impaled in its beak and neck. (Harley Hanson photo)
A dead gull lies along the Minnesota Highway 61 Scenic Highway with a fishing lure impaled in its beak and neck. (Harley Hanson photo)

It’s a tough life out there for wildlife, especially when their lives intersect with human activity. Harley Hanson of Duluth came across the gull shown above as he was driving along the North Shore recently near the Talmadge River.

“Due to some fluorescent coloring in the sad heap, I stopped for a closer look,” Hanson said.

What he discovered was a dead gull with a chartreuse minnow-imitation fishing lure stuck in its beak and neck.

Hanson says the stark photo is a reminder to all of us who fish that we should try to manage our tackle as best we can.

A few days later, walking up a street in downtown Duluth, I came across a songbird that had apparently been killed when it was hit by a pickup. The bird, whose species I cannot determine, was still stuck in the grill of the pickup.

Migration is a tough time for birds. Often, they fly all night and arrive in towns weak and hungry. There have been days some autumns when many drivers reported hitting songbirds that couldn’t fly out of the way in time. Under most circumstances, the birds can avoid cars. But when they’re exhausted from migrating, their evasive skills are compromised and some die.

Neither the gull that Hanson came across or the songbird I encountered are examples of widespread problems this fall, at least that I have heard about. Rather, these occurrences are reminders that we humans do take our toll on wildlife, sometimes unintentionally, sometimes through negligence.

 

 

 

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