“Pelicans were observed in the middle of that storm and then seen moving south,” said David A. Jessup, senior wildlife veterinarian for the California Department of Fish and Game. About a week later, he said, ill birds started showing up on the California coast and further inland.
The tip-off for scientists, said Mr. Jessup, was frostbite. “It was severe in a lot of cases,” he said. “There were legs, toes and pouches frozen off.”