Friday, September 11, 2009

Time to Cry Fowl - Pelicans Falling From The Sky

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

The West coast of the USA is undergoing a strange phenomena - hundreds of pelicans have been falling from the sky like huge feathered hailstones crashing into cars, boats and anything else that may be in the way. Some are inevitably killed during their freefall to earth and/or sudden landing.

If they are lucky enough to escape death, weak, disoriented birds can be found huddling in people's yards or other urban areas. They are so disoriented they allow rescuers to walk right up and capture them. They make no effort to escape.

More than 100 have been rescued along the California coast, according to the International Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro. This is not an insignificant number and could be a harbinger of things to come.

Rescuers are wondering whether the illness is caused by a virus, or even by contaminants washed into the ocean after recent fires across Southern California. Strangely, many of the birds have swollen feet. No one is quite sure what this means yet.

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Bird-rescue workers say that dead or disoriented pelicans have been found from southern Oregon to Baja California, Mexico.

From the Seattle Times:
"These birds are on the freeway, getting run over," said Jay Holcomb, executive director of the rescue center in San Pedro. "A bunch we've seen have been hit. They've been landing on yards five miles inland. When some of the people have captured them in parking lots, they just sit in the corner. They just go pick them up."

"Maybe the weather has been particularly difficult on them," said Heather Nevill, a veterinarian tracking the problem for the International Bird Rescue Research Center. "Maybe the fish stocks are particularly low. It might be more than one thing, all coming together at once."

Veterinarians and volunteers are nursing many pelicans back to health; but, this is expensive and can't be done for all of them.

However, the questions still remain: What is causing this? What, if anything, can be done to curtail this?

1 comment:

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