Hooked a Bird?

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So you’ve hooked a pelican (or some other bird)? Watch this short video to learn about the proper way to safely unhook and release a bird:

With just a little extra attention to your surroundings, you and your pelican friends can both have a great day out on the water.

Although its wingspan is over 6 ½ feet, a pelican weighs only 8-10 pounds and your fishing line will hold it. Note: the bird won’t know you are trying to help and will try to defend itself. Pelicans do not have teeth, but they have a hook at the beak’s tip and its edges are sharp and could give you a small “paper” cut.


Cutting the line will most likely result in a bird becoming entangled in a mangrove or other vegetation, where it will suffocate or die of thirst/starvation. Please responsibly remove the hook and line and safely release the bird.

Click here to download a printable guide to unhooking a bird

Interested in learning more about pelicans and the problem of fishing gear entanglement? Check out this in-dpeth video produced by the Tampa, Saint Petersburg, and Manatee County Audubon Societies: