Friday, February 8, 2008

A Pelican Rescue

We've been really sick around here this week. I mean SICK - like we've had the plague kind of sick. Luckily we felt a little better today and since it was such a beautiful day out we decided to go out to the beach for a while. It was nice to get out of the house after a week of being sick and we really enjoyed walking on the beach and soaking up the sun. After our walk we were driving home and about a block from the house the Island King says "Hey look at that pelican!" and sure enough there on the sidewalk sat a pelican. The bay is just across the street so we see pelicans fly by all of the time but we really don't see many just sitting on the sidewalk. We stopped the van and he got out to take a picture. The pelicans around here are not real skittish so you can usually get pretty close to them but this one sat perfectly still and let the Island King get really close. He stood there for a minute and then decided that something must be wrong with it and he took a step closer to see what was up. The pelican ran across the road and tried to fly but as soon as he left the ground you could see that his wing was broken and he only made it as far as a bush on the other side of the street. The bush was in a small wetland area and the pelican immediately crouched low on the bush and camoflauged himself perfectly. By now the whole family was out of the van and standing on the sidewalk watching. A car drove by and since we were all just standing on the sidewalk staring across the street the woman driving the car stopped and asked if everything was ok. We told her about the pelican and the Island King asked if she had the phone number for Wildlife Rescue. Turns out this woman volunteers with them some so she called and told them about the pelican and they told her they would come and get him. Now my family plus this woman and her daughter were all standing on the sidewalk looking across the road and another car drove by and the woman driving stopped and asked what we were all doing. We told her about the pelican and that seemed to satisfy her so she drove on. Several cars drove by while we were waiting and every one of them slowed and stared at the line of people on the sidewalk LOL The woman who called Wildlife Rescue said she needed to go and once we assured her we would stay and show the rescue people where the pelican was she left. We waited about 45 minutes and finally one of the volunteers pulled up. She was a young girl in shorts and light shoes and she did not look happy about having to tromp through the bushes into the wetland area so the Island King offered to go in and get the pelican. She told him how to grab the pelican so he wouldn't hurt it and she said that the pelican wouldn't bite him. Just after he reached the bush the pelican was in he let out a yell and jumped back a little. He told the girl that while pelicans may not bite they will hit you with their beak pretty hard LOL She got a blanket from her truck and told him to throw the blanket over the pelican's head and the to grab him like a football. It had gotten pretty dark by now and even though we had a flashlight we still couldn't see very well. We could hear the Island King grunting and the pelican thrashing all around and for a second I thought the Island King was going to fall over head first into the bush LOL He finally managed to get hold of it and brough it back out to the sidewalk. The wildlife girl said she would take him back to their office and see what she could do about his wing. They have a pretty high success rate and she did a quick exam on the sidewalk and said that other than his wing he seemed pretty healthy so I'm sure he's going to be ok. Pelicans are absolutely one of my favorite birds and being able to help this one was nice. Hats off to the Island King for wading into the brush and grabbing him - I'm not sure I would have been brave enough to try and grab him after he pecked me the first time LOL He has a nasty cut on his finger but he'll live. What a guy!
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