Rare Arctic bird spotted tangled in fishing line off California pier, nonprofit says

A rare Arctic bird was spotted entangled in fishing line near a California pier, and rescuers rushed to help, a nonprofit said.

Beachgoers spotted the yellow-billed loon Jan. 19 off the Cabrillo Beach Pier in San Pedro, the International Bird Rescue said in a news release.

The bird had fishing line wrapped around its body with knotted material trailing behind it, the group said. The fishing line caused the bird to have “limited mobility.”

Lifeguards and marine animal rescuers were called to capture the bird. They removed the fishing line and took it to the Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles Wildlife Center, the nonprofit said.

San Pedro is about 25 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.

A yellow-billed loon was found entangled in fishing line Jan. 19 near the Cabrillo Beach Pier in San Pedro, California, a nonprofit said.
A yellow-billed loon was found entangled in fishing line Jan. 19 near the Cabrillo Beach Pier in San Pedro, California, a nonprofit said.

What to know about the yellow-billed loon

The yellow-billed loon is a near-threatened species that’s protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The birds have black and white coloring with white spots, a light yellow bill, with “stout bodies and long necks.”

The loon breeds in the Arctic tundra during the summer. In the winter, some of the birds migrate to southern coastal waters, including the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said.

The birds “occur only in very small numbers south of Canada,” the nonprofit said.

“While it is not unprecedented to see yellow-billed Loons along the Pacific Coast during the winter, it is very rare since they spend much of their time away from the shoreline,” JD Bergeron, chief executive officer of the bird rescue, told McClatchy News by email.

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