'Saddens me immensely': Disturbing detail in photo of bird highlights man-made threat

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·3-min read

A devastating image has highlighted the escalating negative impact man-made materials are having on the welfare of wildlife.

An osprey was photographed by a local of Hervey Bay, in southern Queensland, on Monday - but a saddening detail sparked deep concern for the animal’s wellbeing.

Trailing behind the bird as it flew was a long piece of fishing line, which according to the witness, was collected after the bird caught a fish that had a line and hook “entangled” in it.

“The fish came loose and the line and hook became entangled in the osprey,” the witness, amateur photographer Barbara Elliot wrote to Facebook.

“This saddens me immensely,” she said, explaining the affected bird was one of two local nesting ospreys that had raised many young together over the years.

Photo shows an osprey bird with fishing line attached to it.
A trail of fishing line could be seen floating behind the bird as it was mid-flight. Source: Barbara Elliot Photography

“The young, although they can fly they are still dependant on being fed and they were calling out for a long time, possibly hungry,” Ms Elliot wrote.

She said the bird had at one point landed on the beach, almost for long enough for a volunteer wildlife rescuer to catch it.

The bird flew away when one of its young “swept in” she said, telling Yahoo News Australia she had since been told the bird was being monitored by staff at Australia Zoo.

“I was amazed it was so close to the roadside but when the wildlife rescue volunteer said it had a hook and line attached it made me sad, especially when the young were getting more vocal and they were attempting to capture fish themselves but they never managed to,” Ms Elliot said.

“I am really pleased it was captured and I really hope it will be ok and returned as soon as possible. They're beautiful creatures and I could watch them all day.”

Local fisherman slammed on social media

Inconsiderate fishing practices were slammed by social media users in comments to her post, some of who expressed their familiarity with the nesting osprey family.

“If you walk on the jetty you can pick up a pocket full of fishing line and other rubbish, such a disgrace,” someone wrote in a comment.

Photo shows fishing line and a fish hook attached to an osprey in Queensland.
The osprey was seen tangled in the fishing line after catching a fish. Source: Barbara Elliot Photography

“So irresponsible,” another said.

“We love this family, really hope someone can help,” a third wrote.

One suggested the jetty be monitored around the clock to clamp down on poor fishing behaviour, saying the littering “somehow must be stopped”.

“I've seen people catch pufferfish and leave 20 or more lying on the jetty and then walk away. Pieces of line, hooks, plastic, old bait and pieces of fish etc, all filth that needs to be carried away by the people who carry it on,” their comment read.

“A sign should be erected, stating that the pier is being monitored and that it will be closed for fishing if the littering carries on.”

They argued that if the littering continued, locals should get used to the idea of the pier being closed permanently.

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