The results are in! Following our 2017 Bird of the Year contest, online voters have chosen the American White Pelican as our 2017 Bird of the Year at Bird Rescue. This charismatic candidate stole the show, taking 40% of the overall vote. It beat out five other aquatic birds, including a banded Brown Pelican spotted in Mexico.
The American White Pelican is one of the largest birds in North America, occurring mostly in the Western and Southern portions of the continent. It is a common bird for us at both of our wildlife centers and is a favorite amongst staff, volunteers, and supporters.
This year’s winner was exemplary not only of the troubles that face aquatic birds but of what can be achieved when a group of inspired people take action. The Southern California pelican was a victim of fishing line injuries, and because of a long list of partners and community members, the bird was able to find its way to recovery at our LA wildlife center.
Fishing hooks are commonly discarded or left behind in coastal regions, resulting in a devastating amount of injuries to wildlife. Not only do the remnants of the hooks puncture muscles, joints, bones, and tear flesh, but the lines attached to these hooks get wrapped around the necks, legs, and bodies of birds.
Fishing line injuries are a prominent issue for many of the birds that we treat at both of our clinics, and are an example of the negative impact that humans can have on wildlife. Marine debris, including fishing lines, effects seabirds and other marine life on a daily basis and are a growing cause of concern for our oceans and our wildlife.
For us, the plight of ocean debris and its resulting injuries to wildlife is serious, and one that is worthy of spending the next year delving into. Through awareness, education, inspiration, and action – together we can do our part to reduce or remove altogether the impacts of this dire threat.
At Bird Rescue, we are as committed as ever to our mission and look forward to sharing ways that you can help us toward our goal over the next year. Stay tuned for more information on the challenge of ocean debris, and the ways that we can all help towards a solution. In the meantime, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. For updates and bird education, sign up for our popular Photo of the Week – delivered via email each Saturday morning.