First Group Of Rehabilitated Brown Pelicans Released Back To The Wild

Eight Brown Pelicans, now healthy and strong, take to the skies after weeks of recovery at International Bird Rescue. These birds were among the nearly 340 Brown Pelicans admitted to our two wildlife centers in the last five weeks. Watch them exit their crates and return to the wild in this YouTube video.

“We can’t keep them in care forever, and we can’t fix what’s ailing the ocean.” –Dr. Rebecca Duerr, Director of Research & Veterinary Science, International Bird Rescue

The release of these rehabilitated pelicans on May 30th in Sausalito, CA, is a testament to the rescuers who identified their plight, the volunteers who devoted their time to their recovery, and the generous donors nationwide providing essential supplies for their treatment. With your continued support, more pelicans have the chance to restart in the wild.

“With these releases, we’re sending them home to the ocean healthy and in great condition to fly wherever they need to go,” said Dr. Rebecca Duerr, Director of Research & Veterinary Science at Bird Rescue. “Our special banding program will show how they will do in the wild.”

While small numbers of pelicans are still coming into care, there are also signs that pelicans are successfully foraging again in most locations. “We can’t keep them in care forever, and we can’t fix what’s ailing the ocean,” Duerr added.

No conclusive proof on what is causing this crisis has been revealed. An investigation is ongoing with colleagues at California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).

To find food, pelicans will leave their natural habitat and risk their lives in human-populated areas. Some of the pelicans were found in odd places, including one trying to enter a Santa Cruz bar and another on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Perhaps the most notable Brown Pelican landed in left field during the middle of San Francisco Giants-Cincinnati Reds baseball game. After wowing the Oracle Park crowd, the wayward bird was credited for the Giants’ come-from-behind win, and quickly earned a #RallyPelican moniker on social media. However, the disoriented bird was an indicator to wildlife experts that this bird was sick with hunger.

Finding birds in unusual and unsafe locations and situations is a clear sign they may need help. The public can play a crucial role in reporting these birds to their local animal control. They can also get assistance through the organization’s Bird HelpLine at 866-SOS-BIRD (866-767-2473).

Read: Tales of Survival: Three Inspiring Brown Pelican Recoveries