Willet Hooked by Discarded Hook & Line

Dunedin Causeway

On Monday, 1/20/14, Clearwater Audubon received a call about a “little gray bird” that was panicking and hooked at the southeast shore of the drawbridge of Dunedin Causeway. The man said he wanted to help it, but didn’t know what to do. My husband and I went out to help the bird, and found a willet on the seagrass with a hook in its lower beak that had poked a hole through the flesh under the lower beak. She was panicking, trying to walk backwards and sideways to free herself. The fishing line the hook was on was tangled and stuck in the seagrass. We carefully caught the bird, cut the barb off the hook, and removed it. We wrapped the injured willet in a towel, kept her calm and warm, and transported her to a seabird rehabilitator with Gulf Coast Bird Rescue. Thankfully, with quick, effective medical care, this willet was able to be released later this week.
This is a perfect example of why it’s so very important not to leave fishing line, hooks, and other sharp objects behind when you’re at the beach! Several species of shorebirds forage up and down the shore all day long, and many of them at night as well, and are subject to injury from this type of litter. This willet was simply doing what she normally does, looking for food, and didn’t deserve this to happen to her. Hopefully this story will help spread awareness about the dangers of discarded hook and line. Feel free to share to educate and promote awareness.




GCBR would like to thank Kim Sauls Begay for allowing us to re-post her original article.

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