Forest Preserve urges anglers to properly dispose of fishing line after injured geese rescued at Whalon Lake

The Forest Preserve District of Will County is reminding anglers to properly dispose of their fishing line after two Canada geese injured by fishing line wrapped around their legs had to be rescued at Whalon Lake preserve in Naperville by volunteers from Chicago Bird Collision Monitors.

When the birds were found, the line was deeply embedded in their legs and the rescuers transported the geese to the Willowbrook Wildlife Center in Glen Ellyn for treatment.

“The incident illustrates why it is imperative that anglers properly dispose of their fishing line,” said Cindy Cain, the Forest Preserve’s public information officer. “The line should be cut into pieces less than 6 inches long. The pieces, along with any hooks and tackle, should be placed in the receptacles provided by the Forest Preserve at its fishing lakes or in another covered trash container.”

One of the injured birds had been spotted by preserve patron and nature lover Rob Lewis of Woodridge who said he saw the bird limping and was concerned that the goose was suffering and needed help. Chicago Bird Collision Monitors was alerted, and Amy and Jerry Tavolino of Wheaton came to the lake Tuesday, July 26, to try to find the bird. After rescuing the first goose, the Tavolinos noticed another goose tangled in fishing line by the water’s edge holding its injured foot in the air. That bird also was rescued.

“Both of them, their legs looked pretty bad,” Amy Tavolino said. “But I’m hoping there isn’t too much damage.”

Later in the day Tuesday, Willowbrook staff said the birds were being treated for emaciation and wounds/trauma to their legs. One goose has bumblefoot, which is a bacterial infection caused by an injury to the foot.

Amy Tavolino urged people who visit the preserves to call Chicago Bird Collision Monitors at 773-988-1867 if they see an injured bird while they’re out fishing or taking a walk.

Unfortunately, the Forest Preserve District has documented many other cases of birds being killed or injured by fishing line throughout the preserves.

According to Chicago Bird Collision Monitors website, “Thousands of birds are injured or killed each year as the result of becoming tangled in a variety of man-made materials. If birds become entangled they are essentially trapped and cannot free themselves without assistance. They are prevented from flying, walking, feeding and avoiding predators. Prolonged entanglement can cause permanent physical damage to skin, feathers, muscles, nerves or bones.”

For more information on this rescue story and other Forest Preserve headlines, visit the Current Headlines section of the District’s website at