Brown Pelican Snared In Fishing Line Healed? Why, yes!

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pelican release july 14 - 1A juvenile Brown Pelican, caught in fishing line, stranded – a sadly common story. All over the world, all over the country, all over California and here on the North Coast, derelict fishing gear, open bins of fish waste, poor angler practices, and more contribute to an environment with more hazards than ever for these iconic, magnificent birds.

Humboldt Wildlife Care Center/Bird Ally X has the expertise and the facility to provide the specialized care these birds require – and these are not easy resources to come by. Years of experience, and a lot of effort go into acquiring skills and the infrastructure to provide excellent care. Yet even with these, still we aren’t complete. We need you. Your support – moral, physical and financial – makes our work rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing injured and orphaned wild animals possible. You make it happen!

Found on the beach in Crescent City, she suffered from abrasions caused by fishing line wrapped around both wings. She also had a nasty constriction wound where the line had wrapped tightly around her left leg.

She also was severely thin, starving because she was unable to eat. Brown pelicans plunge dive from as high as 75 feet into the cold ocean. A remarkable feat that requires top form… soon this young bird would have died without rescue…

Constriction wounds can be very tricky. With circulation cut off, tissue on the far side of the embedded line can die, leading to complete loss of her foot. A Brown Pelican needs both feet to thrive. Fortunately, we got to her in time, removed the line and her foot survived.

To keep track of each patient we give them temporary colored leg bands. This young pelican was given a yellow band, and written on the band, the word YES. Her code for the duration of her care? Y for yellow followed by YES, or Y-YES!

It took nearly a month for her wounds to heal and her weight to climb back into a healthy range. When she finally was ready to go, man did she!

Check out her release photos below. And remember, it was your support that gave her a second chance! Thank you!

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All photographs Laura Corsiglia/BAX