Brown Pelican With Badly Fractured Femur Makes Full Recovery

After 96 days in care, Brown Pelican with special blue band Y84, was released.

A young Brown Pelican that was hit by a truck on Pacific Coast Highway, was returned to the wild after making a remarkable recovery. Back in November 2021, our friends at California Wildlife Center transferred the critical patient to our Los Angeles wildlife center for treatment.  A member of the public had witnessed the collision and alerted wildlife rescuers.

The pelican was in rough shape when she arrived – her left femur had been broken, and she had suffered several wounds on her wings, feet, and bill. Our team immediately went to work to get her the help she needed.

Back to the wild: Brown Pelican released at White Point in San Pedro. Photos by Olivia Jenkins

Once the patient was stabilized, Bird Rescue’s staff veterinarian, Dr. Rebecca Duerr performed a 90-minute surgery to clean out the wound and pin the bone in place. For two weeks, the pelican was kept comfortable in an inside enclosure with plenty of food to eat while her bones healed. When the pins were removed, she still had a long way to go to regain strength in her leg. Clinic staff and volunteers provided her with attentive care and monitored her walking for several months as her limp slowly improved.

After 96 days in care, the pelican was finally cleared for release.

On a beautiful Southern California winter afternoon, the resilient patient received blue band Y84 and flew boldly back into the wild. It is thanks to the support from the community that birds like this one get a second chance at life. From rescuers to donors, every action makes a difference.

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