to do if you see a pelican injured or apparently weak....
Call a wildlife rehabilitation center (in SB: 681-1080;
elsewhere: see below) or call the Harbor Patrol (in SB:
564-5530) or other officials for help; if no one is immediately
available, gently help the bird as follows and bring it
to a care facility;
How to rescue a pelican (seagull, cormorant or other seabird*);
If the bird is acting weak — a normally healthy
pelican will not let you approach closely:
— Grasp the bill with one hand. enough to keep it
closed but not tightly—
it's very important to not hold the beak tightly closed:
being without nostrils, "nares," the pelican could
— With your other hand, scoop the bird up, holding
the wings close to the body.
— Place in a box large enough for the bird and with
air holes and call and transport to a wildlife care facility
(see below for Central and Southern California list
of licensed facilities.)
If the bird is healthy, but is hooked or/and has a fishing
—If he is in the water, slowly reel in the bird, scooping
him up with a fishing net;
—Grasp his bill gently but firmly — restrain
him with his wings against his body, as above, covering
—Unwind all the fishing line, checking to see if any
monofilament line remains and has cut into the bird;
—If the bird is hooked, gently push out the pointed
barb, cut the barb and pull out the hook part.
the bird carefully for any additional line and then release
him carefully to the place found or the water IF there are
no possibilities of it being rehooked.
the bird has swallowed a hook, do not try
to remove it but call a wildlife facility (in Santa Barbara.
The pelican will be frightened; talk softly, be gentle and
keep dogs and, if possible, people away. Weakened pelicans
may have avian lice — the presence of lice is an indication
of weakness when a bird can't or doesn't have the energy
to preen; lice are a nuisance to the rescuer but they do
NOT bite people!
*cover the heads of seagulls, cormorants, grebes; they do
bite, so calming is important.
Recue Team — 805-896-1859
Santa Barbara Wildlife
Ventura Wildlife Rescue — 805-498-2794
or after hours in Santa Barbara/Ventura, call June in SB:
Pacific Wildlife Care, Morro Bay/SLO
International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) Northern
California (Main office):
4369 Cordelia Road • Fairfield, CA 94534 •
Phone: (707) 207-0380
Southern California: 3601 South Gaffey St.• San Pedro,
CA 90731 • (310) 514-2573
Avian Wildlife Veterinarians and Emergency Care Facilities
Christine Sellers, DVM, 101 W. Mission St., Santa
Barbara, 93101, 805-569-2287 - useful resources on her Cat
and Bird site: http://www.catandbirds.com/bservicesb/
CARE (California Animal Referral & Emergency Hospital),
301 E. Haley St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101 (805) 899-CARE
(2273) — 24 hours emergency.
Wildlife Rehabilitators Association for rehabilitation
there are oil spills: Oiled
Wildlife Care Association, administered by the Wildlife
Health Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University
of California, Davis.
to locate a wildlife rehabilitator somewhere/anywhere? Click
Wildlife Rehabilitation Information Directory:
source on the web for information on wildlife rehabilitation.
Here you will find information on what to do with injured
wildlife and who to contact. Information is provided for
the public and for the professional wildlife rehabilitator.
Many links are provided to sites of interest relating to
the field. Information is also present about wildlife in
injured and alive marine mammals: in Santa
Barbara County, please contact the Marine Mammal
Center HOTLINE (805) 687-3255. For injured
marine mammals in Ventura County, call (805) 388-4344;
in San Luis Obispo County, (415) 289-7325
Bay Harbor Department: (805) 772-6254
Wildlife Care, San Luis Obispo, (805) 543-9453,
visit their excellent: pacificwildlifecare.org
Audubon Society, a chapter of the National Audubon
Society: audubon @ rain.org
Concerning dead cetaceans: call the S.
B. Museum of Natural History: (805) 682-4711 X
and in Ventura, Channel Islands, Harbor Patrol: (805)
US Fish and Wildlife Service:
800-344-9453; general info: (916) 445-0411; miscellaneous
contact info: California
Department of Fish and Game
the Ocean, a public non-profit action group, dealing
with ocean pollution in Santa Barbara waters, with regularly
updated beach advisories.
© Betsy Robertson Cramer, 2004, all rights reserved.