Golden Gate Bridge pelican returns to freedom

The brown pelican named “Gigi” that landed and halted traffic in August on the Golden Gate Bridge was released released back to the wild on Friday, September 12. The young bird was rescued and transferred to International Bird Rescue where it has been recuperating for the past several weeks.

Watch: Brown Pelican captured on Golden Gate Bridge

This female brown pelican also had the unique fortune of capturing the attention of filmmaker Judy Irving of Pelican Media, who successfully documented “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.” Irving has decided to include this special bird in her latest project on the life of pelicans. She also filmed the release of Gigi (as in “Golden Gate”) along with a handful of other pelicans nursed back to health at IBR’s San Francisco Bay-Delta Wildlife Center.

Laurie Pyne, Bird Rescue’s Development Director, reports:

The Golden Gate pelican (aka P193) and company was released Friday and all went beautifully! Nancy and Jerry Mix and myself were happily surprised when we pulled up and saw a crowd of people from the Discovery Museum, the two folks that have the little red firetruck and do SF tours, the SF police, the staff from the Golden Gate bridge, and others at the release site at Fort Baker. Everybody was really jazzed to see these truly incredible birds leave their carriers (“GG” was last, of her own accord!), swim en masse in front of everyone before flying in a large circle in front of us and then off into the sunset.

The kids cheered and the folks that rescued her actively participated and they couldn’t stop smiling. Two of them drove in SPECIAL to be there. It was a really wonderful experience for all of us.

Judy Irving filmed every aspect of the release, as she has been filming all of “GG’s” journey for her new short film on pelicans. Some of you have likely seen her hanging around the center with her camera and gear. She is the filmmaker who made “The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill”. This was a great opportunity to do some community outreach and the feedback has been really positive and wonderful.