A picture says a thousand words and so it goes with today's blog entry. A year ago, the Greater Ozarks Audubon Society was notified by the Dickerson Park Zoo that an eaglet from the nesting pair of Bald Eagles at Fellows Lake in Greene County, Missouri, had been brought into the raptor rehabilitation quarters at the zoo. The fledgling was grossly entangled in monofilament fishing line. It was not long before the eaglet died, another victim of a completely preventable environmental hazard. After our initial shock, we asked for photos, knowing that this tragedy could be used as an educational tool aimed at avoiding future calamities. Apparently, no one took pictures.
There are no bad guys in this southwest Missouri scenario. I do not believe any Ozarks fisherman deliberately acted in a way that resulted in the death of our national symbol; or for that matter, any desirable, threatened, or endangered bird species. (Of course, if the fisherman is an ORV enthusiast on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, it's another story entirely).
A year passed after the initial eaglet incident. Regrettably, no action was taken or plan implemented to avoid future monofilament mishaps. Springfield Parks Department continued to implement its applaudable efforts to make the area's waterways more accessible to the general public. As a result, more people are fishing at Fellow's Lake, Lake Springfield, and Valley Water Mill. As a result of more anglers, more wildlife has perished due to discarded monofilament line.
GLADE and Logan-Rogersville High School, we came upon this dead Belted Kingfisher. This is a bird that we had seen many times, bringing abundant life to its lakeside home, incessantly rattling while flying to its dead wood snag. It beautifully graced the landscape as it dove from its perch to catch abundant shad in the lake. Today, a month later, it hangs lifeless, decaying in the summer sun. It hangs there as a poignant reminder that even when our intentions are good, our impact on nature can be tragic and unforgiving.
On Sunday, May 20, while on a GOAS-sponsored field trip to Valley Water Mill, we came upon this American Robin entangled in monofilament line.
Let's use these tragedies to educate the public and change behaviors. Please take the time to pick up discarded monofilament line wherever you see it, whether you are an angler or not. For more information, visit the Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Project website .