As a horse owner, nature lover, and conservationist, it’s amazing to realize what we don’t know about wildlife. Recently I became aware of something that had never occurred to me about baling twine.
With baling twine, most horse owners use it, and sometimes we forget to throw it away and leave it even after we untie a bale. And often, it seems, birds pick it up and use it to make their nests. Sounds useful and good, right? Wrong!
Baling twine, I learned, is lethal to birds, especially young raptor chicks. Wildlife field biologists routinely find chicks, especially ospreys, with string wrapped around their legs and bodies with disastrous and deadly results. Yes, birds love twine and think it works well for nests; what they don’t realize is that it can kill themselves and their young people. Tangled birds usually die a slow, painful death from starvation and bodily injury.
With declining bird populations and uncertain conservation responses, this is a rare case where the solution is easy. If the baling twine was properly disposed of, the problem would be eliminated altogether. Maybe by sharing this we can save more wildlife, especially birds.