Rescuers cut away beer can stuck on seagull

A lone seagull stuck with a cut beer can around its neck was rescued Saturday near San Francisco State University by specialists who have been following birds sharing the seagull's affliction.

Thanks to the help of a concerned citizen, rescuers were able to catch the bird with a net today near the university, according to WildRescue, a project aimed at helping animals.

The citizen “kept watch over the gull and befriended it with daily handouts,” WildRescue Director Rebecca Dmytryk said.

The juvenile bird was found to be in good health and released after the jagged beer can was removed.

But the search isn't over. Up to five seagulls that are flying loose in the Bay Area have cut beer cans around their necks.

“The cans, if left on the birds, will eventually kill them,” Dmytryk said.

The bounty for information leading to who put the cans on the birds is now $6,000 thanks to several anonymous donations. California Beer and Beverage Distributors of Sacramento also pledged an undisclosed amount to
the cause, according to WildRescue.

The first sighting of the birds was in September, but it wasn't made public because they hoped that it was an isolated incident, Dmytryk said.

Now that more reports have come in, WildRescue and International Bird Rescue of Fairfield are asking the public for help in finding the birds.

“They're going to hang out usually at a pier or a marina where they can get food easily,” Dmytryk said.

In the past, people have spotted the birds at Fisherman's Wharf and Alcatraz in San Francisco, and in an undisclosed location in Half Moon Bay.

Sightings should be reported to a dedicated paging service at (831) 429-2323 or emailed to rescue@wildrescue.org.

It's a federal crime to put these cans on the birds. According to WildRescue, nearly every wild bird is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The act, implemented in 1918, offers protection of migratory birds from being hunted, kept as pets, or sold. It was first used as a treaty between the U.S. and Britain, but later expanded to include Mexico, Japan and Russia.

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