What to Know
- The sick birds showing up along the coast are showing signs of emaciation, hypothermia and anemia
- Islands off California are home to the brown pelicans' only breeding colonies in the western United States
- A wildlife organization says there are many cases of pelicans landing on city streets, residential yards and airport runways
A wildlife organization says there's been a surge in the number of sick and dying brown pelicans along the Southern California coast in the past week.
International Bird Rescue said Thursday that more than 25 pelicans have been brought to its wildlife center in the San Pedro district of Los Angeles. The big birds are showing signs of emaciation, hypothermia and anemia.
The organization did not cite a cause.
Wildlife center manager Kylie Clatterbuck told The Associated Press it's normal to receive recently fledged baby pelicans this time of year but the current wave includes many second-year birds. The organization says there are many cases of pelicans landing on city streets, residential yards and airport runways.
A well-publicized incident occurred last week when two pelicans landed at Pepperdine University's graduation ceremony in Malibu. The pelicans were likely young birds from the Channel Islands off the coast of California who recently fledged.
Brown pelicans spend most of their time over shallow waters and in sheltered bays along the coast. Groups often can be seen flying low over the water when they're feeding, diving head-first to catch their prey.
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The easy-to-recognize seabird with a throat pouch that can store two gallons of water was classified as federally endangered in 1970, but de-listed in 2009. Channel Islands National Park on West Anacapa and Santa Barbara islands off the coast of California are home to the brown pelicans' only breeding colonies in the western United States.
When the Channel Islands population faces increased food shortages where they breed, some brown pelicans forage in unusual areas and scavenge for handouts.