Surfing heron: enjoying a ride at the San Clemente Pier

While surfing at the San Clemente Pier on Thursday, Jeff Marder rescued a black crowned night heron that was dangling under the deck of the pier, eight to 10 feet above the water, entangled in a strand of old fishing line wrapped around a wooden beam.


Marder explained that in his 35 years of surfing he had never seen anything like it, and was thankful that once the bird was examined, the heron was found to be healthy.

"I was checking him to see if there was any fishing line still attached to him, and he snapped at me a couple of times," Marder said. "That's when I decided to submerge my board under him and gave him a solid place to stand and then proceeded to paddle him to shore.

On shore, people gathered and several people with cell phones and a lifeguard called the Coastal Animal Services Authority. A lifeguard arrived with a carrier cage.

"I took the box and eased him into it," Marder said. "The bird kind of trusted me. It was a very unique bird."

"I think anybody with a heart and some compassion would have done the same thing, (seeing) an animal suffering, whether it's a pigeon or this particular bird or a pelican. It made my day."