October 5, 2017 / Brooklyn news / Park Slope / Meadows of Shame

Bye, bye birdie: Injured swan dies shortly after being rescued from P’Park Lake

Hooked then sunk: An angler’s lure pierced this seagull in Prospect Park Lake last winter, causing the bird to drown, Artz said.
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This bird met a fowl end.

A swan found hopelessly entangled in fishing line with an illegal barbed hook on Saturday in Prospect Park Lake died not long after a wildlife advocate rescued it on Tuesday with the help of a park worker, according to the animal-lover who attempted to save the creature.

“The swan was rescued yesterday, but did not make it,” said Mary Beth Purdy Artz.

Artz, who first discovered the waterfowl on Sept. 27, later announced its plight in a Facebook post that included a video showing the hapless bird’s leg completely immobilized by the barb. But the post was deleted following the publication of this article.

The injury forced the creature to avoid land and seek deeper waters because it couldn’t stand, making rescue attempts difficult, according to the advocate, who blasted the Department of Parks and Recreation on social media for being slow to arrange a boat-led attempt to recover the swan.

“If you can believe this, we have to get permission to get a boat,” Artz wrote on Sunday. “Parks Department won’t let ‘civilians’ do anything. It is incredibly frustrating.”

And with no help on the horizon by the end of that day, her frustration boiled over.

“I’m sick of the park,” Artz wrote. “They don’t give a s---. This is an annoyance to them.”

But on Tuesday, an employee of the Prospect Park Alliance — the private group that oversees the meadow in conjunction with the city — joined the advocate’s rescue mission, and the pair managed to pluck the poor swan from the lake, according to Esther Cho, Artz’s friend and a Reiki practitioner who volunteers at a Kensington animal rescue.

Unfortunately, the waterfowl perished shortly after being rescued due to its days-long plight, and Artz said a necropsy is underway in order to determine its exact cause of death.

The swan is not the first bird to suffer such a tragic fate, according to Artz, who said a seagull drowned in the lake last winter after getting hooked by an angler’s discarded lure, and that she found a dead nesting robin entangled in fishing line in a tree last spring.

And it isn’t even the first park swan to be aided by the advocate, who said she managed to save a cygnet two years ago after it swallowed some line and became separated from its family.

“Rescuing entangled and hooked wildlife has become routine,” she said.

A parks department spokeswoman expressed condolences for the deceased bird on the agency’s behalf, and urged men and women who fish in the green space to clean up after themselves.

“This is an extremely unfortunate situation and serves as a reminder to New Yorkers to fish responsibly,” said Maeri Ferguson. “Catch-and-release fishing is permitted in Prospect Park, but park-goers are asked to use barbless hooks and to never leave fishing line or hooks behind.”

The agency installed 12 line-and-tackle receptacles around the lake for anglers to discard their supplies in, but lines do still end up in the water, according to a Prospect Park Alliance spokeswoman.

Artz acknowledged that most fishers do pick up after themselves, but claimed the sport is poorly monitored in the meadow and that some anglers still use illegal barbs with little fear of repercussion.

“I and many others believe that if fishing is to be allowed, it should be strictly monitored, and it is not,” she said. “Illegal barbed hooks are still being used and fishing line is still being carelessly discarded, despite the receptacles provided.”

The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation is responsible for enforcing the green space’s fishing rules, according to a spokesman for New York state’s Department of Environmental Conservation. But state environmental-conservation officers sometimes patrol city parks in search of violations related to fishing and other activities, he said.

The swan died just weeks after the state conservation agency announced a non-lethal plan to control the waterfowl’s population in Southern Brooklyn, which recommends using tactics including coating eggs in oil and destroying nests to manage the non-native birds.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:54 pm, July 9, 2018: This story was originally published on Oct. 4. It has been updated with new information from New York state's Department of Environmental Conservation.
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Reasonable discourse

ty from pps says:
swans are not as tough as spotted owls and less stringy than whooping crane.
Oct. 4, 2017, 9:28 pm
more sensitivity from Prospect Park says:
The paper has to use more sensitivity with it's titles. "Bye, bye birdie" is callous.

Otherwise this is a good story about a lot bad with Parks.

Fishing should not be permitted in a NYC Park, especially purposeless "Catch and Release". This is a place where nature should be protected and appreciated, not be exploited as a pastime and destroyed.

I can imagine the experience of a young child watching a fish get ripped out of the water by a hook in its mouth, and even worse to be thrown back only to die later from the trama and wash up on the shore to rot. What are we teaching our children? Or the aftereffects of lost hook and lines killing birds and other beautiful creatures by needless entanglements. What a beautiful site for a NYC Park!

Hope Parks gets the picture and stops fishing or any destruction of wildlife in our NYC Public Parks.
Oct. 6, 2017, 3:45 am
Mary Beth Artz from Windsor Terrace says:
The title is extremely insensitive and the report makes it seem we were not getting help. When we reached out for an employee with a boat we got help.

Sadly, it is the DEC who is responsible for monitoring fishing in the park, not the Prospect Park Alliance and as I said to Colin Mixson, they do not have enough officers for the city to monitor. This was not reported.

I was upset to watch this bird suffer. I'm sorry that Brooklyn Paper tends to poke fun and look for the worst that they possibly can in the reporting.
Oct. 6, 2017, 1:25 pm
CL from NYC says:
"Bye, bye, birdie" Really? A beautiful bird dies a horrific death and the paper thinks to make a joke of it? Fishing is completely uncontrolled and unmonitored at the city parks. Barbed hooks, fishing line carelessly thrown about, catch and keep, fishing w/out obtaining a license, no enforcement whatsoever. If DEC doesn't have enough manpower to monitor and enforce their regulations, fishing should be banned. This swan (and the many other animals killed by fishing line and hooks), should not have been sacrificed to carekess irresponsible fisherman.
Oct. 6, 2017, 1:42 pm
Rina Deych, RN, Wildlife Rehabilitator from Brooklyn says:
I am OUTRAGED at the callous treatment of this tragic story by Colin Mixson and the Brooklyn Paper! The title is not only un-funny, but it is outright CRUEL! Also, per Ms. Artz's commentary, it is clear that the facts were not portrayed accurately. There needs to be a retraction, as well as a change in title. That said, fishing needs to be outlawed in Prospect Park. Far too many animals (not the least of them FISH) suffer injuries and die because of this obscene activity. I can't tell you how many birds I have personally freed from fishing line in the park. For shame that this has been allowed to go on for so long.
Oct. 6, 2017, 2:25 pm
Melissa S from Crown Heights says:
Fixed the title for you:
"Swan dies from Park Abuse & Neglect of Injuries after Citizen Rescue"
(Drop the first line of the article too. Good reporting otherwise.)
Oct. 6, 2017, 3:07 pm
Brooke from Park Slope says:
It's just a bunch of birds, who cares? I mean besides internet troll Mary Beth Purdy Artz who clearly wrote all of the above comments.
Oct. 6, 2017, 6:27 pm
Whitney from Kensington says:
The DEC is likely overwhelmed. Park-goers can help by watching out for the wildlife. Being more observant will bring joy and discovery to curious people (and possibly pain sometimes, as in this case). We need to watch out for each other and for the wildlife we share this urban space with. Do the right thing, call 911, ACC, ASPCA, look up wildlife or animal rescue groups and caregivers who can help.
Teach children about safety, compassion and responsibility--to ALL beings.
Oct. 6, 2017, 8:15 pm
Ban fishing in NYC Parks from Brooklyn says:
It's sick to allow fishing of any kind in a NYC Park.

This is a sanctuary, not mans/womans killing playgrounds.

We want to go to the Park to relax and enjoy nature.

Lets make sense and Ban Fishing in NYC Parks.
Oct. 7, 2017, 3:20 am
Caroline Lee from NYC says:
I have been told repeatedly by park enforcement officers that only DEC can issue summonses for fishing without a license, for unlawful barbed hooks, and for not releasing what they catch.
DEC is now claiming the park is responsible for enforcing fishing regulations?
If this is actually the case, someone should make park enforcement aware.
Wonderful the way they shift the blame back and forth in the wild life suffers as a result
Oct. 7, 2017, 6:31 am
Beth from Cobble Hill says:
All these people (who are Mary Beth) commenting above are such hyppocrites. Claim to love birds, but walk around in their DOWN jackets (they're made from the skin of baby birds), eating Kentucky Fried CHICKEN all day long. Mary Beth Purdy Artz guzzles down two buckets of chicken a week (that's 16 whole chickens). Apparently her favorite parts are the heads and the genitals (which is really sick, she clearly has some kind of sexual chicken insanity)!
Oct. 7, 2017, 7:56 am
old time brooklyn from slope says:
perhaps a better title would be 'swan song'
the only fish you are going to catch are coney island white fish

i fished in the lake many times as a kid - - a and s fishing contest - a permit was never required
Oct. 9, 2017, 9:56 am
Mary from Park Slope says:
Beth got it wrong.

It's not "bird shin" but from Duck or Goose down which is grown from live farm animals no different than shearing wool from a sheep.

Chicken is also farmed sourced and consuming all parts of the animal is responsible not perverted.

Where talking about a Park where nature should be preserved. Let's be mature and responsible.
Oct. 12, 2017, 6:11 pm

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