Last week, Redondo Beach Animal Control arrived at International Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles Center with a California Brown Pelican in desperate need of assistance. A fishing lure was hooked not just to the side of her face, but to her wrist, such that any movement of her head or wing would tug at the wounds on each. All three barbs on each end of the lure – six barbs in total – were embedded into the Pelican’s flesh and had to be snipped for extraction. Judging by the advanced parasitic state of her facial wound, with a huge opening below her eye and around the hinge of her jaw, she must have been in this heartbreaking predicament for several days before being rescued.
The lure removed, and her wound flushed, the Pelican, now called 1473, was started on antibiotics and stabilized. She then underwent surgery to remove necrotic bone and tissue in her jaw area. She was eating again that very night! With such a large wound to close, her rehabilitation at International Bird Rescue will be a lengthy one, but this bird is a fighter. She is alert, feisty, and has a big appetite. Once her wounds have healed and she demonstrates an ability to fly with strength – and therefore hunt for herself – we anticipate that she will be released back into the wild.
I’d like to say that this heart-wrenching story is an unusual one, but sadly it is repeated at our centers five thousand times a year. Every bird that arrives at our doors has a story to tell. They are all there for one reason – because they need our help.
We are so fortunate to have a team of dedicated staff and volunteers that specialize in the care of seabirds and aquatic birds. But these birds don’t arrive with health insurance, and the only way we can provide the care they need is with your help. If you haven’t made a donation to International Bird Rescue this year – or even if you have – please consider doing so today. Our centers care for birds every day of the year so recurring monthly gifts (of any size) are the very best way of showing your ongoing support for this important work. You will find information about becoming a Sustaining Member on our online gift form. Every bird matters and so does every gift.
With deepest gratitude,