At least one double-crested cormorant is thankful that Anne-Katrin Titze always travels with her trusty needle-nose pliers.
The fish-foraging waterfowl was the latest bird to be ensnared by a fish hook in Prospect Park’s lake — and the poor fellow (gal?) was in agony until Titze, a licensed animal rehabilitator, was summoned to do her Androcles act and save the day last Wednesday.
A Parks worker spotted the bird first, and escorted Titze and her companion Ed Bahlman to the Wellhouse where the exhausted bird was struggling under the weight of the five-ounce sinker. (That may not sound like much, but it’s the equivalent of a 20-pound weight on Michael Phelps’s leg.)
Bahlman coaxed over the injured bird so that Titze could perform her magic — a surgical procedure that extracted the barbed hook in two pieces.
The couple dubbed the bird Chance — because luck played a big role in his (her?) rehabilitation.
“This bird is the poster fowl for the unchecked abuses and shows the harm done when people fish irresponsibly in a city park,” said Titze, who has saved 52 waterfowl, four other birds, three squirrels, five dogs and three turtles over the past two years from carelessly discarded fishing lines, illegal barbed hooks and environmentally unsafe lead sinkers. “What chance do birds like ‘Chance’ and other wildlife have to survive this kind of neglect? Every hook has been barbed!”
Reach reporter Gersh Kuntzman for two more weeks at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-4504.