Hays bald eagle chick fed fish snagged with hooks and fishing line | TribLIVE.com

Hays bald eagle chick fed fish snagged with hooks and fishing line

Mary Ann Thomas
Photo courtesy of Dan Dasynich
One of the Pittsburgh Hays bald eagles carries a fish with fishing line and debris to its nest on April 27, 2019.
Photo courtesy of Dan Dasynich
The Pittsburgh Hays female bald eagle carries a fish with fishing line and debris to its nest on April 27, 2019.

The problem of litter was exemplified Saturday when one of the Hays bald eagles brought a fish snagged with multiple hooks and fishing line and fed it to one of its two eaglets.

It’s unclear if the one of the young birds swallowed a hook, according to Jim Bonner, executive director of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania.

Audubon and CSE Corp. operate a live webcam on the nest have been reviewing video footage.

If the one of the birds ingested the hook, its prognosis is not good, according to Bonner.

“It’s a cautionary tale for debris left such as fishing line,” Bonner said.

The Audubon Society has been identifying and placing fishing line recycling tubes along waterways, including one not too far from the Hays nest in Duck Hollow area of Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood.

Fishing lines that entangle wildlife not only kills but causes slow, agonizing deaths.

The two Hays eagle chicks known as H9 and H10 are about a month old. They are the 9th and 10th chicks raised by Hays pair without incident so far over seven years on the same hillside above the Monongahela River.

Both eaglets seemed to be in good health later in the day Saturday, but Audubon and others will continue to monitor the birds and their nest.

As is usual on nice Saturday mornings, photographers and eagle watchers were assembled on the Three Rivers Heritage Trail across from the nest snapping photos of the parent birds taking trips to and from the river and back to the nest, often delivering a fish breakfast to their offspring.

Dan Dasynich, of Lincoln Place, Pittsburgh, knew it was not good when he noticed something trailing behind a fish, which the Hays female eagle caught about 9:45 a.m.

He aimed his camera with a zoom lens.

“I noticed it was fishing line that led to the fish’s mouth, and it was a good eight-foot long piece of line knotted up with debris tangled in it.”

Taking it to the nest to feed to the young birds, he said he and the others on the trail knew that such an unfortunate incident was bound to happen.

The webcam documented one of the eagles feeding a chunk of fish to one of the eaglets where the hook was clearly visible, according to Bonner.

“But it looks like it was swallowing it, brought it back up, then bowed its head,” he said.

It’s unclear if bird totally swallowed it or brought it back up.

Closer analysis showed that there were two hooks in the fish, and perhaps a third , according to Bonner.

One clip shows an eaglet holding an object in its beak that could have been the hook, and it put back down.

Closer inspection of the video will be necessary to determine more details, according to Bonner. Audubon will continue to monitor.

There are no plans to intervene at the nest, he said.

“That is not our call,” Bonner said.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has jurisdiction over handling wildlife and they typically don’t intervene with disturbing wildlife during breeding.

The incident hit Dasynich hit hard because he said, “fishing is my religion.”

“I collect my line,” he said. “I don’t use lead.

“It’s all about conservation.”

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.