Early in the morning, during a routine sampling trip for the Unified Water Study, Mike, our Conservation Crew Leader, and Christian, our Ecology Coordinator, saw something that reminded them why the work they do is so important: a bird trapped in a plastic shopping bag. The bag’s straps were completely tied around the juvenile herring gull’s right leg, and the bag was filled with water, anchoring the poor bird to the surface of the river. Though they were in the middle of performing time-sensitive work out in the estuary, Mike and Christian knew that the bird faced certain death if they didn’t intervene. Several frantic minutes and bloody hands later, the young bird was free and the waste was removed from the water.
This bird was lucky to have been found in time. Countless other animals are not so lucky. Every day, the natural environment is ensnared, strangled, and killed by human waste. This fortunate encounter serves as a reminder for us all to do our part to protect nature while we still have it.