Camera-toting bird spurs fish photo mystery

It sounds like a fish tale — a Saskatchewan woman comes to the aid of a water bird with a camera hanging around its neck ... only to discover numerous fish photos on the memory card.
Karen Gwillim found hundreds of photos in a digital camera slung around a cormorant's neck. A number of them showed men posing with large fish. (Facebook/CBC)

It sounds like a fish tale — a Saskatchewan woman comes to the aid of a water bird with a camera hanging around its neck ... only to discover numerous fish photos on the memory card.

But it happened to Saskatoon's Karen Gwillim in September, as she was driving through the village of Craven.

A cormorant, similar to this one, was found with a camera strap and camera wrapped around its neck. (File/CBC)

Approaching a bridge, she saw a young bird struggling with something, so she got out to investigate.

"It was a cormorant, a black water bird with kind of a long neck," she said. "It had this silver camera kind of dangling from its neck."

When she approached the bird, which weighed about two kilograms, it didn't try to flee or resist. She took the camera off, it flapped its wings and it was gone.

"I think he was relieved to have something that heavy removed," she said. "He seemed all right."

With the bird saved, Gwillim turned her attention to the camera, a point-and-shoot model that had obviously been in the water for a while.

She went home, took out the memory card, let it dry out and booted up her computer.

Fortunately, the pictures were intact. There were about 200 of them, many of them having been taken in October, 2011.

"Lots of fishing pictures, giant fish, guys with fish, mostly," she said.

There were also pictures from a wedding, some houses and other photos that seemed to be from the Shell Lake area.

She posted them on her Facebook page, hoping the camera-owner would find them, but for weeks heard nothing.

However, after Gwillim was interviewed by CBC Afternoon Edition host Craig Lederhouse on Tuesday, a Saskatoon man stepped forward to say he's in some of the pictures and knows whose camera it is.

Frank Resendes told CBC the camera owner dropped it while helping a friend haul in a fish near Craven about eight months ago.

"He's going to help his buddy land this fish so he's getting closer to the edge of the water, almost falls into the water and that jars the camera out of his pocket and it falls into the canal never to be seen again," Resendes said. "It just disappears."

Arrangements were being made today to reunite the man with his pictures.

Karen Gwillim posted this photo and others that she found in a camera that was slung around a cormorant's neck. (Facebook)