Fishing lure injures both adult tern and chick on Terminal Island

International Bird Rescue regularly cares for seabirds seriously wounded by fishing hooks in the San Pedro area. But this case may be a tragic first.

On Monday, IBR's San Pedro center received an adult Elegant Tern with a chick. Both were found at Terminal Island snagged together by a fishing lure with three treble hooks — one embedded in the adult’s left wing, the other two attached to the chick’s left leg and wing.

IBR has seen cases of monofilament fishing line entangling and injuring multiple seabirds, but this may be our first case of a fishing lure wounding both parent and chick, who were separated by IBR's rehabilitation team and treated with antibiotics as soon as possible. At this time the prognosis is guarded.

Terns are common patients at IBR's San Pedro center, and many have suffered at the hands of humans. IBR cared for oiled Sandwich Terns during the Gulf spill in 2010 and raised orphaned tern chicks during a 2006 incident were workers in Long Beach used high-pressure hoses to illegally remove hundreds of nests situated on a barge. Last fall, IBR's San Francisco Bay center cared for an Elegant Tern with a gunshot injury — also very much illegal, as terns are protected under federal law.

IBR will keep you posted on the condition of these special patients under the team’s expert care.

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