29 April 2012

Ground Cover Netting Traps Chipping Sparrow

Plastic netting placed to hold bare soil in place, trapped and nearly led to the demise of a Chipping Sparrow.

A pair of these sparrows were observed was foraging along Happy Hollow Creek about noon, and about two hours later came word than one had been freed from the netting covering the ground.

A community volunteer planting berry trees nearby happened to notice the bird's predicament, and was able to set it free. Its head was caught in a couple of the small squares of the netting. Apparently when going after a bit of an edible, the head was stuck through the net, but when trying to pull it back out, the feathers caught and prevented any escape.

The bird could have easily died due to being trapped for a long term, or it might have fallen prey to a foraging crow, one which was noted at the site, later.

This netting covers three areas along Happy Hollow Creek where a City of Omaha project was recently done to stabilize the banks with gabion baskets full of rock. The mesh was supposed to be biodegradable, but it is not clear if that is actually the case?

The plastic material is now an obvious hazard to the many birds present in the area.

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