Every Bird Matters
news and views from international bird rescue

June 13, 2018

The Release Files: Rescued Young Pelicans Get a Second Chance

Healthy young Brown Pelicans released at Whites Point in San Pedro. Photos by Angie Trumbo

A beautiful day for a release! Three rehabilitated Brown Pelicans took to the skies and joined a flock of local pelicans as they returned to the wild Wednesday afternoon. The healthy seabirds were released at Whites Point in San Pedro after a month in Bird Rescue care.

The opening paragraph in the Associated Press story by John Rogers captured it best:

“Birds gotta fly, and to the delight of dozens of people gathered above a rock-strewn Southern California beach, that’s exactly what a trio of Brown Pelicans did when their cages were opened.”

Concern for ailing Brown Pelicans that live along the coast of California has been mounting the past few months. Since late April at least 80 sick and dying birds came into Bird Rescue’s two California wildlife centers. The first and second year Brown Pelicans admitted show signs of emaciation, hypothermia, and anemia.

Two of three pelicans released Wednesday.

Some of these cases, such as the two pelicans that crash-landed in the middle of a Pepperdine University graduation ceremony,  garnered media attention. Many more sick birds have been found grounded on LAX airport runways, on city streets, and in people’s yards.

It’s still a mystery what’s causing these birds to crash land. It could be the challenges of warmer ocean waters that chase the pelicans fish stocks to deeper, unreachable waters. What we do know is that these young seabirds need immediate care.

With the quick action of the public and local animal control agencies, ailing pelicans can be stabilized, hydrated and fed. After a month or more of care, more will return to their familiar coastal waters where hopefully they will find food and thrive in the wild.

Thanks to all the local folks that came out to cheer on these second chance pelicans. And thanks to our donors whose support makes it possible to give mother nature a little TLC!

Taking to the skies, youthful pelicans spread their wings after release.

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