2nd, 2007: Below is
an example of a double hook dropper loop rig discarded on
the pier last night. Notice the baited hooks and try not to
imagine the consequence for the hungry seabird that finds this set up.
Already this year I have had to rescue one gull that had swallowed
a hook and had the other end of the line snag on the deck ... flopping
on the pier for who knows how long before I found it in the morning.
Also found the dumpsters overflowing again this morning ...
... this time I was able to get a close up shot of typical table
scrapings that end up on the pier either in the form of excessive guano
or regurgitated castings.
In the upper right hand of the photo you can see a tear where
the birds started to open up the plastic bag. Food waste like this should
be double bagged especially if the dumpster is already overflowing.
More problems overnight at the end of the pier. First problem
was a pigeon found
flopping near the railing hooked through the wing with the other
end of the line snagged underneath the pier. Startled by my presence the
bird managed to break or pull the line free and fly away.
Then I notice another line tied to the railing above where the
pigeon was and left in the water overnight. I find one or more of these
handiness almost every morning now. From the amateurish construction and
inappropriate line weight and hook sizes I would assume whoever put it
together was not an experienced angler.
In the same location I discovered that the newly installed recycling
bin for discarded fishing line had had most of its bolts removed and was
dangling from the railing. I contacted the organization that donated the
bin and suggested it be remounted with lag bolts which are harder to remove.
I was told the County had specified through bolting instead of lag bolts.
Purchased new stainless steel bolts and washers and reinstalled
the bin. Tightened down all the bolts on both bins extra tight.
but not least ...
the end bench on the left was tagged again making this the fourth
time since December that this bench has been hit.
I'm documenting the history of this bench to demonstrate what
happens when initial graffiti is not removed promptly.
Perhaps the bench and railing across from it should also be included.
That area has become the favorite of those who carry large knives and fancy
themselves having a talent for woodcarving.
Speaking of the other bench .... noticed a
large pile of torn up cardboard under the 'woodcarver's bench' this morning.
When I removed it I found it was concealing a serious arson attempt. This
is the same area involved in last year's fish mutilation
I asked the Park to report
it both the Police and the Fire Department. A watch commander or supervisor
from Goleta PD met with the Park staff at the foot of the pier. He declined
to accompany the rangers out to where the fire had been nor did he provide
an incident report number.
It is evident that we are dealing with
a seriously ill individual and I am at a total loss as to why the local
police are not taking these incidents more seriously.
As if that weren't bad enough we received
a visit from Old Town last night as well ... just to remind us that they
hadn't been around in a while. Thanks guys for showing your respect for
the pier ...
Since the responding officer didn't view the tagging in person,
though he had been told about it by Park staff, it is highly unlikely that
he will mention it in an incident report even if one is written.
As I discovered in a previous situation without a written incident
report there can be no referral to the gang unit for follow up. He
did reiterate the Department's promise to begin patrolling the pier on
weekends though or so I was told.
Nothing new there ... that's been the response since last October
and before. We have yet to see any evidence that these promised 'patrols'
consist of anything more than just a drive through of the parking lot.
What is really needed is for the officers to get out of their cars and
actually walk the pier as a deterrent.
Later: Looking at the above photograph I can see that the
letters W and E have already been crossed out ... that was not done by
Old Town but as a show of defiance by another gang. I wonder if the attempt
to burn the bench was part of that defiance as well and does this mean
more gang fights on the pier again?
Still later: The crossed out W was done by Santa Barbara's
Westside Gang and the E by the Eastside Gang. On March 14th it came to
a head between the two gangs and resulted in a gang fight and killing in
downtown SB in broad daylight.
5th, 2007: Another
pigeon rescued ... while talking with friends this morning we noticed this
bird dangling underneath the pier suspended from a fishing line.
Luckily one of the local anglers was willing to climb over the
railing down to where the bird was attached. He positioned a net
underneath the bird to catch it in case it fell ... pigeons aren't waterproof
like many birds and will drown if they end up in the water.
Meanwhile another angler sprawled on the deck in order to reach
down and hold the bird with one hand while cutting it free with the other.
Eventually the bird was brought up on deck where the rest of
the line was removed and the bird inspected for damage. Apparently it was
only entangled and not hooked. After a few minutes of preening it
trotted off down the pier.
Once again the culprit was a hand line rig left in the water
overnight. In many countries this is a standard practice among subsistence
fisherman but such unattended lines have been illegal in this country for
6th, 2007: Behind the church next to the
local public library is a two level parking lot. The upper lot
is used by those of us with larger vehicles when using library services
because the library's own lot is narrow and often congested.
In my case it is easier and safer for all concerned if I don't
park my 23' motorhome in the library's parking lot even when it is not
This afternoon while I was parked there doing research for the
Pier Log a police cruiser drove through the lot and then backed up to my
vehicle. An officer I recognized from my work at the pier approached my
door and explained that there had been problems the previous day and the
neighbor's had asked the PD to check on things.
He wanted to know what I was doing in the lot. When I said
I was using the library for research he wanted to know what I was researching.
I showed him a book recently checked out from the local branch on pigeons
and explained that I was researching ways to mitigate pigeon dung on the
He then asked me if I was K. B. G. (my full legal name) which
was weird because I knew he knew me already from a previous contact where
he had asked for my ID. Confused I acknowledged that I was. Then he asked
me for my driver's license ... and began telling me that I was parked illegally
in the Church's lot.
I explained that I understood that the library contracts with
the church to use
the lot for its overflow patrons and asked if he had seen the
parking sign on his way into the lot.
He never acknowledged seeing it but began questioning my right
to use the lot saying the library's lot wasn't full (at the moment). I
explained that many patrons with oversize vehicles use this alternative
lot as it is safer.
He dropped that subject without ever clarifying whether or not
I was legally parked. Making a subtle reference to our previous contact
he asked if we were having any more problems with illegal fireworks on
the pier. So I brought him up to date about the recent arson and graffiti.
Surprisingly he had not heard a thing about it ...
During this entire conversation he had kept his hand firmly on
the handle of my partially opened door even though it was clear I only
intended to open it enough to talk with him. I had to maintain constant
pressure to keep him from opening it further which would have caused me
to lose my balance.
Needless to say I felt completely intimidated ... just like the
time. I had hoped that my introducing myself to the watch commander/supervisor
on January 30th of this year following the last incident and explaining
my purpose for being in the area would be helpful. Apparently not.
7th, 2007: I've
been reading a fascinating book for the past week and was planning on writing
about it in some detail when finished.
Yesterday's events introduced it already so I may as well get into it a
bit here. On the jacket is this blurb:
If there ever was a creature that
was due a revisionist assessment it is the pigeon. Andrew Blechman's wonderful
book gives the lowly bird its due, but along the way reveals as much about
humans as the pigeons themselves. In so doing, he has written one
of those rare and magical books that cause the readers to see the world
The author makes liberal use of the work of Swiss biologist and
author, Daniel Hagg-Wackernagel, who has extensively studied feral pigeon
populations and the attempts to regulate
them in an urban setting.
-Warren St. John
DH-W explores many of the variables that give rise to excessive
and unhealthy flocks and has determined that the amount of available food
is indirectly responsible for flock size ... pigeons can breed up
to six times a year but only if they are relieved from having to
actively forage for food. Its a matter of time ... not amount of protein.
In urban environments pigeons can meet their daily nutritional
requirements quite easily even without those dedicated individuals who
devote their lives to insuring that 'no pigeon goes unfed'. However,
overfeeding leads to overpopulation and overcrowding of roosting sites.
The resulting physical stress reduces the flock's resistance to sickness
It was learned through controlled studies that simply reducing
the flock through mechanical means (shooting, poisoning) without reducing
the food supply was ineffective. The thinned flock, eating better
than ever, soon comes back stronger then ever.
Relocating the birds is another ineffective tactic ... pigeons
are noted for their homing ability and are not long in reappearing at their
DH-W recommends a three-prong approach to reduce populations
and hence excessive guano production at a particular location:
1. Extensive public education campaign to control access
including identifying sources of unsecured garbage and targeting
individuals who are 'compulsive feeders'.
2. Establish dovecotes (bird houses) away from the area so that
lovers will have a place to feed and care for a smaller, healthier
flock. Flock size can be additionally controlled by substituting
artificial eggs for nest eggs.
3. Screen off access to the former nesting sites.
Here at Goleta we have had some success with his first tactic.
Both the park
and restaurant are now cooperating in securing garbage cans
As I indicated earlier that has reduced the guano deposition
The broadcast of avian distress signals were also employed to
good effect in relocating the cormorant population.
Regarding our own resident 'compulsive feeders' ... there are
anti-feeding signs both in the parking lot and on the pier but there is
little enthusiasm for enforcement without being able to redirect their
energies (see point two).
I hope to be able to get some funding this year to mount an educational
display in the east lot alerting bird feeders and onlookers to the fact
that what they are doing is NOT in the best interests of the birds and
to suggest that they get involved with local animal rescue groups and/or
confine their feeding activities to another park or the bird refuge in
I am also looking into custom made automobile windshield shades
imprinted with a similar ecological message ... would be popular
with those of us who spend our days at the beach since we also need to
keep our vehicles cool. Four or five RV's in the back row facing
forward with 'message' shades in place should at least make the non-compulsive
feeders uncomfortable enough to go elsewhere.
The most difficult guano deposits to clean are those from birds
who have been eating processed flour products ... bread, donuts, muffins.
It produces a feces that dries extremely hard almost as if enameled onto
the surface. Those have to be soaked in water first and allowed to swell
before they can be lifted off ...
otherwise they can only be scrapped off by a knife which can
degrade the bench or other painted exteriors.
It might be possible to approach those feeding bread and, after
explaining why, offer to 'lend' them some 'approved' birdseed until they
can get their own. The loaner packet could have an explanatory pamphlet
inside. Healthier for the birds and definitely easier to clean up since
the deposits are softer.
The third point is the most difficult ... if the community wants
the birds to roost elsewhere then the only choice (expensive) is to enclose
the underside of the pier with netting or screening.
However, if we are willing to accept a limited amount of bird
lime then the existing food source controls should suffice.
10th, 2007: Found another set of scorch
marks ... this time on the post and
rail in front of the metal bench in the hoist area. Had
a park staff member look at it and confirm it was recent arson and not
some accidental damage done when the large adjacent electrical power panel
for the hoist was installed.
The damaged area on the post is between the top and middle rails.
It is a large scorch at least a quarter of inch deep and has scalloped
edges as if it were done with a blowtorch.
I can't honestly say how long it has been there but I don't remember
seeing it before nor did the staff person who looked at it. Hopefully this
additional damage will be included in the arson investigator's report.
While we were at the hoist a large group of fraternity pledges
jogged down the pier and massed in the hoist area for the pledge ritual
of diving off the pier. Seeing the staff member watching them they changed
I shudder every time I see groups like this because as a former
angler I know just how much tackle is underwater there to snag them.
Years and years of perch fisherman losing 'the big one' have littered the
pilings with lost line and hooks just below the surface. Not something
you want to be attached to as you attempt to swim back to the surface.
*** Today I was at the library again and I checked to see if
patrons were allowed to park in the church's upper lot next door. Contrary
to what the officer I spoke with last Tuesday
insisted I was told it is not illegal to park there.
In fact the church has donated use of that lot to the
library. The librarian I spoke with made a copy of my previous report
and left it along with my business card for the Head Librarian who returns
from vacation next week.
She could see no reason whatsoever for what happened ... she
said they have had no complaints from the church or neighbors about any
problems in the lot. She told me the library appreciates the fact that
those of us with larger vehicles don't try to crowd into the library's
own narrow lot.
11th, 2007: Photographed some graffiti in
the men's bathroom on the pier which I first noticed on 2-26-07 ... possible
related to recent arson attempts. Funny how I failed to connect the two
at first, probably because I was pronouncing the name Piro as if it were
a Spanish word (peero) and not the English (pyro).
Maybe it is just a coincidence ...
Spoke with the Head Ranger about steam cleaning the floor and
walls of the men's bathroom on the pier. I'll spare everybody a picture
of the floor and just leave it to your imagination but it hasn't been cleaned
or even mopped since last August.
I explained that in the next few months UPSAC
and other organizations will be hosting events here and it would be nice
to have the pier at its best. Public events like these should be used to
promote and build support for the pier ... not to inadvertently disclose
He said there is a work order to replace the floor but for now
they will take a fire hose to it. Also mentioned the graffiti on the benches
and he will have that done today. Asked if it would be possible to have
the benches sanded and restained before the upcoming programs and told
it wasn't in the budget.
Perhaps it's time to put together a voluntary work crew to redo
the benches and paint the bathroom interiors ... if anyone is interested
in helping please contact me (see bottom of page).
12th, 2007: Emptied both fish line recycle
bins today ... they
were only installed
February 21st. Both bins were over half full and line was beginning
to bulge through the wire mesh openings where the birds could get to it.
I had suggested that the next set of bins use a finer mesh in the
interior basket to reduce the number of protruding loose ends. Apparently
that presents other problems from a construction angle so for the time
being we will just keep them from getting too full.
I haven't seen any evidence yet of the birds actually entering
the basket through the opening at the top but if they begin to do that
then the opening will have to be reduced or covered with a flap.
It is encouraging to see that much use of the baskets in just
20 days. I was hoping everybody would understand the importance of keeping
the pier line free. With the exception of the overnight handliners there
seems to be general acceptance.
On the other hand I am a bit surprised as to the amount of line
already accumulated ... this is the slowest time of the fishing season
here at the pier with perhaps only a quarter as many anglers as the rest
of the year.
Over the past year the pier has suffered from ongoing vandalism
and theft of the life rings. The ropes themselves have had to be replaced
at least twice and the stolen rings have never been recovered.
Several months ago following a large storm a commercial lobster
trap washed ashore possibly sporting one of the stolen ropes ... recognizable
by the duo-color pattern in use at the time. It seems that there were more
lobster traps off the end of the pier this year than previously and each
trap requires at least 50' of rope.
Several other ropes have been found on the pier or snagged in
the pilings. The ends of the ropes had been fashioned into a noose in an
attempt to pull mussels off the pilings.
This morning I found one of the life ring cabinets pulled open
and the life ring slashed at the top. There was no other damage on
the pier so hopefully this was an isolated incident.
15th, 2007: The headlines
in the local papers today will be all about the gang fight yesterday afternoon
on the main street in downtown Santa Barbara during broad daylight. One
dead 15 year old ... how many more before it stops?
The resulting articles will interview multiple
public officials who will all swear to 'step up their efforts' ... just
like they promised after the gang fight here on the pier in October.
We have yet to see an increased police
presence on the pier in spite of similar promises.
The Santa Barbara Independent has a good article followed by
an even better online comments
section. I think such community wide forums are an excellent
way to get a feel for the community's response to this escalation in gang
16th, 2007: Emptied all 4 trash cans
in East lot ... having to do that at least 2 times per week now.
Pretty light guano after being off Thursday ... only two benches needed
more than just a cursory wipe.
On Saturday a local church group will be using the two fishing
ells at the shore end of the pier for their 2nd annual kid's fishing derby.
Last year the park staff referred them to me. I gave them a hand and was
glad to have had that experience.
This year they called me to help out again.
This morning I cleaned the two ells including scrubbing all the
railings and kickboards so the kids wouldn't get guano on their clothes
and tackle. I also broomed and washed down the deck because of all
of the smashed mussel shells and meat. In addition the pigeons have
been roosting there this past week so the deck was pretty well covered
in guano too.
I had asked the park if the group could reserve that part of
the pier and was told no but there were no objections if I explained the
need for the space to any early arrivers not with the group.
On April 15th and 16th the California
Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project will be at Goleta Pier to do a general
underwater cleanup, removing fishing lines and hooks wrapped around the
Yesterday after helping the church group set up I took a walk out
to the end of the pier. Just as I got there I heard a commotion and
noticed a gull flying away from the pier trailing a length of fishing line.
The gull settled in the water about 100 yards from the pier and was unable
to get airborn again since the loose end of the line had snagged in some
Since not much could be done to help the bird I started to walk
back when I noticed a couple packages of squid left open on one of the
benches. I walked over to cover them up so the birds wouldn't get
into them. Next to the squid was a section of line called a flyline rig
... hook on one end and a swivel on the other. The hook was baited with
a piece of squid.
Unfortunately the set up belonged to a group of anglers that
should of known better than to leave such a rig unattended. Since
I knew one of them I called him over to the bench and pointed it out. Sometimes
in our excitement over catching a fish we forget to keep track of our tackle
... I don't think they will forget this lesson for a while though since
we all had to watch the entangled seagull struggle for his life.
This morning, unbelievably, I found the bird free and up on the
railing still trailing the line. I asked one of the regulars to give
me a hand in capturing it. After I took a picture the bird flew up onto
one of the light poles with the line dangling down. You can see a a small
section of it across the bird's back in the above picture.
'M' climbed up on the railing and was able to retrieve the line
and bird. While I held it he clipped the line next to the beak and the
bird was released. I've been told the hook will rust out in a couple of
20th, 2007: Two items
of interest in the paper this morning:
"Sheriff's deputies responded
to a suspected gang fight about 7pm
Sunday on Mandarin Drive in Goleta.
No one was seriously injured.
Soon after the deputies cleared the area,
about 30 males, many wearing
hooded sweatshirts, returned to the area,
which runs parallel to
Hollister Avenue, and did a kind of march
back and forth on the street.
Authorities described such a move as a
show of force, intended to intimidate people in the surrounding area."
for end to gang violence, 3-20-2007
Also noted, in a sidebar accompanying the
article, was a community meeting to be held tonight, in Santa Barbara,
at the Unitarian's Jefferson Hall to discuss, as the N-P puts it, "...safety
in the American Riviera". There are additional meetings scheduled for Wednesday
at Casa De La Raza and another Thursday elsewhere in Santa Barbara. I am
not aware of any being held in Goleta to discuss our local gang problems.
In other news ...
Prominently posted on the pier are local ordinances that prohibit
any commercial fishing boat activity within 200 feet of the pier. The above
dive boat was slowly cruising the reef this morning less than 100 foot
from the pier when he spotted me taking his picture. At that point
he made an abrupt about face and headed back to sea at high speed. I suspect
that he was diving for lobsters and staying close to shore ahead of the
21st, 2007: First
Day of Spring ...
One of the regulars brought this new graffiti to my attention
... he said it most likely appeared this past weekend. The view is from
Sandspit Road just west of the entrance to the park. It was situated there
clearly to warn away members of rival gangs who might be thinking of using
But that doesn't mean that it is a deterrent to further gang
activity ... it just incites rival gangs to respond with challenging behavior
of their own. Making the park and pier a location where this rivalry plays
out leaves us all that less safe. And by allowing such graffiti to remain
the County sends a message that it does not dispute the local gang's territoriality.
[3/24/07: Asked park staff to remove the graffiti or replace the bins]
The last time the park was tagged by GP (for Goleta Projects)
was January 13th of this year when the phrase 'Free
Hozer' appeared in the men's bathroom on the pier. At the time I wondered
what that meant ... now I know.
It refers to José "Hozer" Romo, a member of the Goleta
Projects gang who was convicted in May of 2005 of first-degree murder in
the fatal shooting of David Montanes Jr. from the Rock Creek Gang (San
Marcos High area).
Here is a link
to an article in the SB Independent in May of 2005 detailing citywide efforts
towards dealing with the gang problems at that time. It does a good job
of depicting typical gang activities and the community's response even
if it is a bit overdone in the graphics department.
On page 15 of that document there is an excellent letter to the
editor from a SB probation officer taking the paper to task for gratuitous
glorification of the gangster lifestyle. "Ms. Murillo’s flowery
language cannot take away the potential danger gang members present to
the safety of the community. To depict gang lifestyle and behavior as “cool”
or newsworthy is socially irresponsible and unacceptable." I whole
23rd, 2007: What is depressing is
the amount of effort that went into trying to turn the situation around
then ... and here we are two years later with yet another killing and more
community meetings focusing on the teenage angst that supposedly lies at
the root of the problem.
Santa Barbara County, with it's more than 800 community-oriented
non-profits, has managed to field an impressive number of agencies and
programs to assist at risk teens and by all accounts has been successful
with those kids who do participate. But that still leaves over 3000 active
gang members who have refused all offers of help.
Make that 3000 urban terrorists. 100 of them fought downtown
in broad daylight and killed a 15 year old on March 14th. In the evening
rivals fought each other in a local hospital while visiting the injured.
The following day a San Marcos student, an alleged gang associate, was
beaten for his decision not to participate in the original fight. On the
18th 30 more attempt to intimidate an entire neighborhood in Goleta by
marching around in hooded sweatshirts like a modern day KKK.
During the funeral on the 22nd 100 more, dressed in theme t-shirts
and trailed by the police, marched en masse through the downtown area to
the site where the 15 year old fell. It was meant as a memorial but came
across as a show of force with open display of gang hand signals.
I wonder how many of that group were watching or participating
on the 14th? Did they not have any sense of shame for creating the disturbance
that took their friend's life? How could they interrupt their friend's
funeral and distress his parents further by this vulgar display of gang
It was reported that they were carrying a portion of the boy's
ashes ... does this imply that the family of the deceased were complicit
in the memorial march? Or did they feel they had no choice in the matter.
More charred wood and burnt tinfoil on the pier this morning at
the last fish cleaning station on the east side. Below the spigot there
were several 3" circles burned into the plank as if hot cans had been placed
Further down the pier in front of the last bench a 6' section
of 2x6 railing was broken off, split, and used as the firewood. The entire
area was covered in trash. I have asked the park staff to report this incident
to both the local police and fire department.
It was suggested that this might be a cooking fire and not intentional
arson. Not that that is any excuse for the accompanying vandalism.
But why leave all the charred wood on the pier?
I still believe we are dealing with a disturbed and potentially
dangerous individual with a penchant for acting out in public. I would
hope the authorities take notice ...
26th, 2007: More reference
reading on a wet, drizzly day ...
The El Niño Southern
Negative values of the MEI represent the cold ENSO phase (La
while positive MEI values represent the warm ENSO phase (El
"El Niño is a periodic
reversal of ocean currents, winds, and weather systems that stretches across
the equatorial Pacific Ocean, halfway around the planet at its widest girth.
It is a redistributor of heat and energy in the hottest part of the world's
oceans, which kicks in when the regular circulation systems can no longer
cope. In normal times, the winds and surface waters of the tropical Pacific,
driven by Earth's rotation, flow from the Americas in the East to Indonesia
in the West. In the tropical heat, the water warms as it goes. The result
is the gradual accumulation of a pool of hot water on the ocean surface
around Indonesia. This pool can be up to 13°F warmer than the water
on the other side of the ocean, and can contain more heat energy than the
entire atmosphere. All that heat generates storm clouds that keep the rainforests
of Southeast Asia wet.
But the constant flow to the west also piles up water. Trapped
against the Indonesian archipelago, the warm pool can rise as much as 15
inches above sea levels farther east. Clearly, this state of affairs cannot
last. And every few years, usually when the winds slacken, this raised
pool of warm water breaks out and flows back across the surface of the
ocean, right along the equator. As the warm water moves east, the wind
and weather systems that it creates follow.
Deprived of their storm-generating weather systems, Indonesia
and a wide area of the western Pacific, including much of Australia,
dry out. There are forest and bush fires, and crops shrivel in the fields.
Meanwhile, the displaced wet and stormy rainforest climate drenches normally
arid Pacific islands, and often reaches the coastal deserts of the Americas.
Ripples from this vast movement of heat and moisture spread around the
globe. They move west through the Indian Ocean, disrupting the Indian monsoon
and causing rains or drought in Africa, depending on the season. They move
east. Beyond the flooding on the Pacific shores of the Americas, El
Niño brings drought in the Amazon rainforest. Its hidden
hand alters flow down the River Nile, triggers rains in the hills of Palestine,
and damps down hurricane formation in the North Atlantic.
Typically, an individual El Niño
event lasts twelve to eighteen month After it has abated, the system often
goes into sharp reverse, with exceptionally wet conditions in Indonesia
and fierce drought further east. This called La
its sister constitute a vast oscillation of ocean and atmosphere that in
recent times has been the most intense fluctuation in the world's climate
With Speed and Violence:
Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change
Found life ring at end of pier removed from cabinet and dropped
in the water around the last piling. The other end was tied to the pier
railing . Have no idea what it was being used for. Also found 2 complete
monofilament hi-lo rigs with treble hooks and 2oz pyramid sinkers still
attached and left sprawled across the deck. The hooks did not look as if
they had been baited - perhaps snaggers?
Found this gull 'trussed' up at the end
of the pier this morning. The bird was hooked in the beak and chest
and was completely entangled in a 50' piece of monofilament fishing line
that had become snagged on the railing.
Since the bird was immobile and not overly
excited I took a minute to document its distress. Then I placed the bird
between my knees to restrain its wings. Holding its beak with my
left hand I fished a nail clipper out of my pocket and started cutting
and unwrapping line. After a couple of minutes I was able to remove both
hooks only to discover a third in its throat.
Not having a hook remover with me I cut
the line close to the bill and then checked the bird for broken legs or
wings. Finding none I set the bird down on the railing where it remained
for a few minutes and then flew off.
While putting the recovered line (minus hooks) into the recycling
bin I noticed that someone had clipped and removed the o-rings holding
the wire mesh lid to the frame ... more random vandalism. Later one
of the unofficial recyclers showed me three grocery bags full of beer bottles
he retrieved from the trash can at the end of the pier this morning. 15
bottles in just one night from that one area alone. Must have been one
heck of a party.
Previously I had been inclined to attribute these hookings to
anglers leaving hand lines in the water overnight unaware of the damage
they were doing to the birds.
But now after finding four such birds in the last month, noticing
how much blood there was on this bird, and seeing how much alcohol was
consumed I wonder ...
was the hooked gull last night's featured entertainment for
a bunch of drunken wahoos?