Trash and litter related injuries are more common than you would think, especially in urban environments. Often, it starts with something as simple as a piece of string. Although string may seem harmless to us, it can cause a lot of problems for wildlife. Small mammals, waterfowl, and other birds can easily become tangled up and get injured trying to free themselves. If they can’t get free, they may starve to death or become an easy meal for a predator.
Last week, we admitted a Common Grackle that had become stuck in a tree on the National Mall. The Grackle had unwittingly become tangled in a kite string wrapped around one of the trees branches and spent hours flying in circles trying to free itself, dislocating it’s hip in the process. A National Park Service employee responded first, but was unable to help the bird. The kite string was long, and each time she attempted to catch the bird it would fly off. The more it flew, the more tangled the string became, wrapping around other trees and branches. When her attempts failed, the park service employee called DC Animal Care and Control (DCACC)to assist.
After a long chase, DCACC officers were able to catch the bird and bring it in for care. The Grackle is being treated for his dislocated hip and appears to be doing well. We hope to be able to release him later this spring.