Fishing Line wrapped around Little Middle’s leg/s at Dale Hollow: updated

A big thank you to Carol Moore of Wildlife Matters in Kentucky. She responded to my note about Little Middle. She has reached out to the Raptor Centre who will contact the US Fish and Wildlife Service. A permit is required and they are normally given quickly in a human caused instance. It was within hours for the Captiva Bald Eagles that had fishing line that CROW removed. Let us hope that something can be done to help Little Middle, DH15.

30 March 2022

If you happened to tune in to chat at the Dale Hollow nest after 10:36 when River brought a big fish on to the nest, you will have noticed the moderators talking about the fish hook and line. The hook was in the side of the fish with a long line that ultimately became wrapped around Little Bit’s leg!!!!!!!!!! My hurt sunk to my toes.

What got me was the statements being made that ‘no one would do anything’. According to the moderators the nest actually belongs to the Army Corp of Engineers. But the statements – again made by chatters – included if they go up there to take out the line the parents will not take care of the eaglets anymore. Wildlife rehabbers are often great tree climbers and get to nests that are completely inaccessible by machine. Perhaps there is no one in the area to do this? If you can maintain the camera, though is there not a way to the nest? I am curious why there is not a plan in place should something like this happen. It is a perfectly legal cause to go to the nest.

River has broken the line and taken away the hook but Little Middle is still tangled in line.

How many of you can name an intervention that took place this week that was caused by fishing line? to a nest with eaglets that could fledge? was that intervention successful? If you said Ron Magill at the WRDC nest with R2 you would be correct. R2 fledged, broke the line but still had line. R2 was retrieved and the line removed. Here is the video of its return to the nest.

How many of you can name a non-human caused intervention where the nestlings were away for nearly a week and the parents returned immediately to care for them when they were returned to the nest?

Can you name an Osprey nest in Florida where CROW went up and removed a hook and fishing line last year? Just see how quick it was!

Does anyone remember the two individuals who went out and rescued the adopted chick placed in a nest who subsequently fell into the water? If you said Patuxent in Maryland you would be correct. There are interventions everywhere every day. Fishing line was removed from one of the Alberta osprey nests last summer – I have forgotten which one. The Montana Osprey Project was busy removing baling twine last year from osplets. There are also nests in the wild that have tragedies that we will never know about.

Eagles and Ospreys fall under the same rules. Human caused interventions are allowed but require permission. In terms of fishing line it should be easy. It is a quick fix to save an eaglet’s life. Ask Ron Magill if you don’t believe me!

You probably know of a number of sites where you have seen an intervention. Let me know.

River is staring at the fishing line that is wrapped around Little Middle.

River is clearly aware that these things should not be in the nest. Will she be able to save Little Middle? so its legs are not injured. Send your positive wishes. If you happen to live in the area of Dale Hollow Lake and know the wildlife rehabbers there, you might want to give them a call and see if it is possible for them to intervene.

Last year many of us phoned Patuxent amongst other sites. It was those calls that got action and saved the Osprey in Maryland. II don’t actually ‘get’ the inaction amongst the Dale Hollow group. I am hoping that they just don’t know about the other interventions and what could happen here to help Little Middle.


  1. Cindy Hunter says:

    Does anyone know who we can call to help Little Big in Dale Hollow get the fishing line removed?

    1. I have contacted Wildlife Matters a wildlife rehabber to see if they are close enough or if there is one near Dale Hollow. There are interventions for fishing line all the time. Either the tree is climbed or a cherry picker. It only takes a second. The eaglets are too young to fledge so they would just remove it. There could be others but so many places in Kentucky seem to be closed – rehabbers, etc.

      1. Cindy Hunter says:

        Thank you Mary Ann….for all you do…!!!! Let’s all hope that this “special” eaglet can get some help. It deserves this help and hopefully Big won’t harm her in the mean time.
        I can’t wait to read your blogs and I do so daily. I don’t know how you follow so many birds/nests and you are also an exceptional writer! Thank you so much!!!

      2. You are very welcome and thank you. It is my pleasure. This woman is an angel who is reaching out to help that eaglet in the area. I hope that she has some good fortune. It takes someone who really wants to help wildlife! We try our best and live in hope. Little Middle surely deserves the effort!

    2. The lovely woman at Wildlife Matters has contacted the Raptor Centre and they have reached out to the US Fish and Wildlife S that gives the permit. Fingers crossed. I see Little Middle ate. That is good. I hope that it gets undone quickly.

      1. Cindy Hunter says:

        Fantastic news and hopefully they will act quickly. Thank you!!!!!

      2. Nothing is promised. It often depends on who knows who, Cindy, and who is willing to step up and do something. Too many people believe that there can’t be an intervention but…there are lists of them because it is human caused. I wish people would clean up after their fishing and use non lead equipment and non-barbed hooks, etc. My husband doesn’t fish anymore at all because of this problem. Fingers crossed, Cindy. I cannot believe this is happening.

  2. Reblogged this on Mary Ann Steggles and commented:

    Hats off to a wildlife rehabber in Kentucky, Carol Moore, who is attempting to get help for DH15. Thank you, Carol.

  3. Linda Kontol says:

    Thanks for all you do Mary Ann! I’m praying they get there quickly because Big could attack more easily now and make things even worse for poor little middle 🙏

    1. Nothing ever seems to act fast enough. It depends on the will of the USFWS and a friend who is a rehabber who is reaching out to falconers there. It is, as we know with SWFlorida, who you know. I noticed Little Middle can only ‘scoot’ now. It had a meal. I do hope someone will help. The request has gone in and we wait. Bad weather moving in on top of this. Wind 55mph.

  4. Janet Septer says:

    Mary, I remember dc eagles Mr. P and First Lady with dc4 I believe with its leg caught in sticks in the v-shape branches of nesting tree. Al Cecere organized a rescue that took place in 24 hour time and returned dc4 back to nest. That was Not a human caused event. Sorry that he retired. No one could match his rescues. I pray for little middle who has fought so hard to survive. He needs help give it to him. Why would anyone just sit by and do nothing when we can!

    1. Hi Janet. Thanks so much for writing in. I did not know about that intervention and I am going to put it in my book!~.Al Cecere was an incredible individual who loved the eagles and would do anything to help them. It is like our Dave Hancock here in Canada. Other non-human caused rescues have occurred – the SWFlorida nest is one of the most recent and visible. Little Middle has eaten well and has a big crop and good PS. There appears to be another piece of fishing line on the nest and I checked and at 15:30:37 you can see the line around Middle Little’s left foot. I know nothing of the tree, the area, etc. I trust that the wildlife rehabbers will have presented a good argument. We wait to see if anyone listened! Again, thank you. I am very happy to hear about that rescue!

      1. Janet Septer says:

        There is a video still on YouTube on dc arboretum dc4 rescue by Matt and also his return to the nest. Incredible to watch especially when he said “ the eagle has landed and kissed him on his head and said don’t make me come back up here”. It’s a must watch. Thanks again for all your informative updates.

      2. Oh, thank you, Janet. I will include that video in my update so that everyone knows about that intervention! That is wonderful. Once upon a time a friend and I had a hawk get its foot stuck and it was rescued also. Thank you again! You are most welcome.

  5. Salliane says:

    you are only viewing nests with cams…what about those nests that have the same situation occurring and there is NO cams. So sad and tragic!!!! People should clean up their mess than be lazy and not retrieve fishing lines/hooks.

    1. Absolutely. 3 instances in a week on monitored nests and probably what? at least 2000 other nests not monitored. Humans need to stop endangering wildlife — and you are so right, clean up their mess!!!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply