PELICAN RESCUE: Fishing hook restricts bird from flying - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

PELICAN RESCUE: Fishing hook restricts bird from flying

Posted: Updated:

Face to face with a pelican, something one eastern Iowa man was prompted to do when he saved it from the perils of a fishing hook.

Naturalists at Benton County Conservation say pelicans are in the middle of migrating north to breed and that is why we've been seeing them in eastern Iowa lately, but they aren't here to stay.

Unfortunately, one visiting bird was almost stuck here.

On Monday, fisherman called Benton County Conservation to help after they spotted a pelican struggling to fly out of the water at Roger's Park in Vinton. Aaron Askelson and other members of Benton County Conservation went to help and tried to use nets at first.

"We tried to catch him, we were not really successful in trying to catch him, he kept flapping further out into the water," said Askelson.

Askelson, met the the bird face to beak, in efforts to help it.

"We were starting to worry about him getting tired and so I lunged for him and I missed him and I got waist deep in the water," said Askelson. "It wasn't as cold as I thought it would be, so I decided to go ahead and swim out and try to grab him."

Once the bird was on shore, crews found a treble hook holding its feet together.

"One of the hooks had gotten into one of the webbings on his right foot and the other hook go into one of the webbings on the other foot," said Askelson. 
"For a pelican to take off they need to actually move both feet independently and its feet were stuck together and so it couldn't really do anything."

Crews were able to remove the hook and the bird was able to fly off. This rescue is something Askelson will never forget.

"This is the very first time I've ever gotten that close to a pelican, he did peck me in the head pretty hard and once that happened, I thought maybe this wasn't the best idea," laughed Askelson.

Benton County Conservation says lures and fishing lines can be severe hazards to wildlife. Benton County Conservation also reminds everyone to pick up trash and debris, wildlife can mistake it for food and that can also be hazardous.

Earlier this month we told you about another pelican in Black Hawk County that was injured. That pelican had a stick stuck in its wing, but it is recovering. CLICK HERE to read that story.

Powered by Frankly