A couple weeks ago we were made aware that one of our Nebraska Piping Plovers was found entangled in some fishing line on the Texas coast near Texas City. This plover was found by Mark Bartosik and was struggling to escape from fishing line anchored to the ground. Mark carefully freed the plover from the fishing line but noticed that it was injured and unable to fly. This plover was taken to a local wildlife rehabber, Charli Rohack, who took care of it until it was taken to the Wildlife Center of Texas in Houston.
This plover was originally banded by the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and the Nongame Bird Program at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. It was banded as an adult on May 13th, 2014 at a sand and gravel mine near Fremont, Dodge County. This plover returned to Nebraska during the 2015 summer and successfully nested at the same site in Dodge County. It was last observed in Nebraska on June 9th, 2015 and was first reported in Texas on August 21st when it was found entangled in fishing line.
Unfortunately, wildlife encounters with improperly discarded fishing line, plastic bags, and other trash items are not uncommon, and often result in life threatening injuries and death. Fortunately, this Piping Plover was found, untangled, and taken to a rehab facility before it succumbed to its injuries. However, this plover fractured the tip of its right wing and was very weak from the lack of water and food. According to Sharon Schmalz, with the Wildlife Center of Texas, the plover has been eating and is recovering. However, the wing injury could prevent it from fully recovering and being released back to the wild. At the Wildlife Center of Texas they are still hopeful for a full recovery but if that is not possible, they will be looking to find this plover a nice home at a zoo.
Thanks to Mark Bartosik, Susan Hightower, Susan Heath, Rebecca Bracken, Charli Rohack, Sharon Schmalz and the Wildlife Center of Texas for all of their quick response and all of their work to getting this plover on the road to recovery.