A contractor working at Fort Irwin in the Mojave Desert noticed a Brown Pelican along the roadway leading into the post’s downtown area on August 16. The bird was grounded and clearly hours from his natural coastal habitat. The contractor called the sighting in to the Environmental Division of Fort Irwin’s Department of Public Works and three of their biologists, Heidi Erickson, Alexandra Fowler and Nicole Tautfest, responded to the scene. They arrived quickly and found that the Pelican had managed to wander into a fenced maintenance yard where the biologists were able to corral him into a carrier. It was clear that the bird was exhausted and overheated so they immediately brought him back to the Environmental Division’s facility on post and sprayed him with cool fresh water. The bird began to regain some strength and he spent the night comfortably in a fenced dog kennel until wildlife biologist Liana Aker transported him to International Bird Rescue’s Los Angeles Center on August 17.
While Fort Irwin residents routinely see White Pelicans and waterfowl stopping over at their post, Liana informed International Bird Rescue that this was the first time that they had seen a Brown Pelican at their desert location.
Upon intake this Pelican was weak and emaciated. He had small hock sores on his legs and bilateral sores on the pads of his feet. International Bird Rescue monitored his sores, removed a thorn from the webbing of one of his feet, and brought him back up to a healthy weight. Now his blood values are strong, and he is ready to be released into the wild!