Please look after our pelicans

Wendy Gillespie is asking for residents to keep an eye out this holiday season

Ahead of a busy summer season out on the water, Wendy Gillespie aka The Pelican Lady is calling on Peninsula residents to help prevent an influx of sick and injured pelicans.

Gillespie has laid out a series of methods and bird caretaking tips to help people look after the famed birds.

Fishing methods such as keeping the bucket close to you when you reel in the catch, and covering the bait and casting lines carefully are encouraged.

Gillespie is asking fishers to never reel a bird or other marine creature in and then just cut the line and leave a lure in their face.

“Stainless hooks are unforgiving… wings and faces often become attached to the body and birds starve when they’re left in their beak as they’re unable to feed,” Gillespie said.

“This is sadly a very common practice.

“Please don’t release fish with tackle internally or attached as it goes into the next predator, up the food chain and can cause horrific and cruel slow deaths.”

Avoiding using “braided lines” to fish is also recommended as there is a potential damage to the birds from the discarded and entangled lines.

Gillespie said this type of line is responsible for most of the gross leg and foot amputations of many bird species treated and for rapid damage to their wings.

Unattended set lines can also cause harm, along with discarded fishing waste and close proximity to the birds of personal watercraft.

A distance of at least 30 metres from the birds and all marine creatures is recommended.

If you get a bird entangled or on the end of your line, Gillespie said to reel it in gently, cover it with a towel and attempt to gently remove the line and hook.

“Don’t cut tackle out of birds or remove the hooks without cutting the barb off first, as you’re likely to do permanent damage,” Gillespie said.

“Please make an effort to contain them if you get them into trouble as they require veterinary assistance.”

If any sick, injured or entangled birds are spotted, Gillespie is asking residents to contact her on 0458 975 498 with a photo of the distressed bird and your contact details for a quick response.

Maisy Rae