This is the kind of thing that gives fishermen a bad name everywhere. A YouTube video posted on January 23 by AchromaticCosmos shows a man on the Redondo Pier swinging his fishing rod at several pelicans.
During this shameful encounter, one of the pelicans swallows the mans bait with a hook in it: still attached to his rod and reel. The man looks at the hooked bird for several moments presumably trying to figure out how to extract the hook before dragging the helpless bird across the pier.
This whole incident could have been avoided if the man in question never started swinging his rod and the hungry fowl. Fishermen have to remember that they have entered these creatures world; a world that needs to be revered and respected.
You never want to cut the line of a hooked pelican or any other bird as the trailing line may become entangled and result in further injury or death to the bird. Covering the birds head with a towel or blanket will calm the bird down and make it easier to remove the hook.
If you do hook a pelican locate the hook and push it through the skin until you can clearly see the barb. Cut the barb off and back the rest of the hook off. You never want to pull the hook out without first removing the barb as it can cause major injury. If the bird is not seriously wounded, release it immediately.
If you are not sure what to do or you find that the hook has been swallowed or is deeply embedded, call for help. You local humane society is a good place to start while South Bay locals can call the Marine Animal Rescue in Marina del Rey at 310 560 6284 or the International Bird Rescue in Palos Verdes at 310 514 2573.
While waiting for help to arrive, keep try to get the bird in to a large box with a towel at the bottom. Try to keep the bird calm by putting the box in a dark quiet place away from people and make sure you put holes in the box so the bird can breathe.