The rare Yellow-billed Loon entangled in fishing line that garnered birder and media attention after being rescued in San Pedro, CA, was released Tuesday morning back to the wild.
The loon was successfully rehabilitated by International Bird Rescue at its Los Angeles Wildlife Center. With the help of Marine Mammal Care Center (MMCC), it was transported and released by boat just outside the breakwater at Los Angeles Harbor.
“This magnificent bird successfully completed its rehabilitation and has been released at sea thanks to our friends at Marine Mammal Care Center,” said JD Bergeron, CEO of International Bird Rescue. “We’re glad to be part of its return to the wild.”
On January 19th the loon was observed off Cabrillo Beach in San Pedro with fishing gear wrapped around its body and wings and trailing behind it, causing limited mobility. In addition to being a rare visitor to Southern California, this bird is listed a near-threatened species.
Yellow-billed Loons typically are only found in rare occurrences south of Canadian border. They spend their summers on high Arctic tundra, wintering off wild northern shores. Local Audubon members issued a rare bird alert in mid-January after it was spotted in the Los Angeles Harbor area.
During intake, Bird Rescue clinic staff discovered wounds on both of its wings as well as the sides of its mouth. It recovered in a pelagic deep-water pool alongside another waterbird, a Common Loon who is also a victim of fishing line entanglement.
Saving threatened species like the Yellow-billed Loon is not only an ethical imperative but also a practical necessity for maintaining the health of our planet’s ecosystems. This work by Bird Rescue serves as a testament to our dedication to preserving the natural world for future generations.
Bird Rescue is a non-profit wildlife organization that relies on public support to help fund the care of injured, sick and orphaned waterbirds. Donations are welcome at: www.birdrescue.org/donate/