The brown pelicans found distressed and ailing along the shoreline in the past few months are going home.
Some 50 pelicans were taken in for treatment, with the first recovered birds released this past weekend, Russ Curtis, online communications manager for the International Bird Rescue center in San Pedro, where the pelicans have been recuperating, told the Daily Breeze. Five or six more of the recovered birds will be released at 1 p.m. Wednesday on the lower shoreline of White Point/Royal Palms Beach.
The young birds came in undernourished, disoriented, underweight and sometimes anemic. The exact cause is still unknown, Curtis said, although one likely scenario is a lack of fish to feed on.
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"We still haven't heard anything definitive," he said. "But a warming ocean changes the places where younger pelicans can find fish. The young (pelicans) have to forage in shallow waters so if the fish stock is moving farther offshore," that could create a shortage. But "this was not as severe a year as we've had before, in 2008 or 2010," he said.
Following this afternoon's release, there will still be about 25 pelicans still under care, he said, adding that about 20 birds were too ill to save and were euthanized.
The tide of incoming sick pelicans is slowing.
"The number of intakes has gone down dramatically," Curtis said. "We peaked in probably mid- to late May."