Pelicans hit hard by Southern California Storms, Coastal Runoff

Heavy rains and flooding take their toll on California Brown Pelicans as Seabird Specialists, International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC), prepare for more cold, wet wildlife casualties at their Los Angeles seabird rescue clinic.

Hypothermic Pelicans warming by the dryer at International Bird Rescue Research Center in Los Angeles 



A series of storms battering the Southern California coast are impacting local populations of California Brown Pelicans, affected not just by the bad weather but also by the oil, grease and other contaminants washing into the ocean as a result of storm water run-off. Suffering from hypothermia, the lucky ones are being brought to the International Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro, Los Angeles.

“Seabird feathers provide a natural barrier to water, as well as insulation from the cold” says IBRRC Director, Jay Holcomb. “These pelicans are getting cold and wet because the water quality is so poor right now and these added contaminants are preventing the feathers from doing their job.”

“As well as coping with the storms, many of the pelicans we have received have seal bite injuries, a result of feeding frenzies due to commercial and public fishing. These injuries make it even more difficult for the birds to cope with the severe weather conditions out there this week.”

California Brown Pelican Suffering from a seal bite injury as well as severe weather

The center has received 32 pelicans in the last 48 hours and more birds are expected over the coming days. The center is asking for donations to help support the care of these animals. To help save these pelicans (or become a pelican partner and cover the cost of food and medicine for one of our patients) please go to

If members of the public come across sick or injured seabirds they should call International Bird Rescue Research Center at (310) 514-2573.

1 thought on “Pelicans hit hard by Southern California Storms, Coastal Runoff”

  1. I never realized rain could have such an adverse effect on the pelicans. Thank you for doing what you do and being there as the needs arise. Great job!

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