We paddled our kayaks closer to see what was floating in the water. A dead Mallard duck, his webbed feet tangled in fishing line and a clear plastic fishing bobber. Saddened, we left the duck and continued our playaking along the Pineview Reservoir shoreline.
This wasn’t the first time we had seen a bird injured or killed by fishing line. There was a one-legged duck at Highland Glen Park who had lost his leg, and one time we successfully extricated a tangled bird. I’ve read that as many as 2 million birds are killed each year by debris.
A couple of weeks ago, we had the opportunity to save some migrating birds from a similar fate. We met at Bountiful Pond, currently home to not only ducks but coots, pelicans, terns, avocets and a heron. Inspired by Carmen, one of our newest Pliking Club members, we brought “fishing magnets” – heavy duty magnets tied to cable that we could use to retrieve hooks, weights and other metal items, while bringing up the attached fishing line at the same time.
After picking up bags of trash along the shoreline, we headed for a bridge on the far west side of the pond. Since we had children with us, we thought it would be a good spot for them to throw the magnets overboard without falling in. We had a great time until Carmen’s magnet, capable of holding more than 100 lbs, landed on the bridge and stuck fast. After several unsuccessful attempts to move the magnet – it wouldn’t even budge – we stood up and stared at it. After a few moments, Carmen announced, “I guess it isn’t a good idea to magnet fish on a metal bridge.”
Unfortunately Dave, who can move anything, was not present, so we had to solve the problem on our own. Fortunately, I carry a tool kit in my car and we were able to pry the magnet loose using a hammer and screwdriver. Triumphant, we moved our plishing party (picking up litter while magnet fishing) to the aluminum dock, where I cheerily launched my magnet into the pond – accidentally letting go of the line at the same time. Fortunately, Cherie WAS present and had the foresight to attach the line to a bright orange float. As the magnet sank to the murky bottom of the pond, the float bobbed up, and Carmen was able to use her magnet to retrieve mine.
All in all, it was an amazing day.