Gull rescued after being left hanging by its wing from fishing line in Telford

A gull has been saved after the bird was left suspended from a tree by discarded fishing line from an angling lake in Shropshire.

The trapped gull
The trapped gull

RSPCA animal rescue officer David Hollinshead was on duty on Boxing Day when a call came in from a concerned fisherman who had spotted the stricken bird at Stirchley Pools in Hinkshay Road, Dawley.

The officer found the gull entangled in line and hanging from a tree by its wing, about four metres up in the air and around three metres out from the bank.

Three fishing hooks were visible, one of which was stuck in the bird’s wing.

David used special reach and rescue poles - which are issued to all RSPCA officers - to free the trapped gull and bring it safely to shore.

He said: “This poor gull was swinging backwards and forwards over the water, completely tangled up by its wing in the fishing line with no means of escape.

"As I’m a reach and rescue trainer and repairer, I’d recently been carrying out work to some poles which were in my van, so luckily I had a second set on me.

“I was able to extend the first pole fully and place the hanging bird in a net attachment, remotely close it, and confine the bird safely.

"As the fisherman held this net and pole in place for me, I was then able to extend the second pole - which had a knife extension on it - cut the line from around the bird and bring it back onto dry land.

“The gull was in a very precarious position, but the reach and rescue poles were perfectly suited to help in this situation. The last thing I wanted was for the gull to drop into the water and then be out of reach for me to rescue and possibly drown.”

The seagull suspended from a tree by a fishing line in Dawley. Image: RSPCA

The gull was immediately taken for veterinary treatment, where it was given pain relief but thankfully found to have no life-threatening injuries.

After a 24-hour rest at the officer’s house - including a Boxing Day meal of fish and mealworms - the gull was successfully released back onto the lake the following day.

David added: “The RSPCA would strongly urge those who enjoy fishing to be extra cautious when packing up to make sure no litter is left behind. Most anglers are very responsible when disposing of their equipment, but it only takes one careless person to endanger the life of an animal.

“All sorts of litter can cause problems; lines can wrap around necks causing deep wounds in flesh and cutting off the blood supply, hooks can pierce beaks, become embedded in skin or get caught in a bird's throat, and weights can be swallowed causing internal injuries and blockages.

“This rescue at Stirchley Pools is one of hundreds of incidents RSPCA officers have attended over the festive period, which is why we are urging people to

'join the winter rescue' to help keep our teams doing whatever it takes to rescue, rehabilitate and release wildlife.”

The RSPCA urges all anglers to follow the Angling Trust’s Take 5 campaign and make use of the recycling scheme to dispose of waste tackle and line.

Top tips include taking old fishing line and spools to recycling points in local tackle shops or fisheries.

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