Pelicans Fly Free After Being Rescued From Garage During Hurricane Ian: VIDEO

by Samantha Whidden
(Photo credit should read Carlos Tischler / Eyepix Group/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Two pelicans were officially released back into the wild weeks after being rescued from a garage during Hurricane Ian. 

In a post on Facebook, Key West Wildlife Center shared a video of the pelicans being released on the beach. “Volunteer Jaqueline releases two Brown Pelicans originally rescued from the parking garage at 1500 Atlantic during Hurricane Ian. Glad to be able to return them to the wild after a short stay in our wild bird aviary!”

Earlier this month, Key West Wildlife Center revealed that another pelican was discovered at NASKW Trumbo Point. “The Pelican is weak and underweight. We administered fluids and treated for parasites in our clinic to begin rehabilitation. Thanks to all involved in getting this bird help!”

According to the Florida Wildlife Commission, brown pelicans are large grayish-brown birds with a distinct pouched bill. It was noted that during the breeding season, the bird species’ feathers turn bright yellow on the head and white on the neck. Both fade to dull yellow and brown during non-breeding. 

Brown pelican populations previously suffered a severe decline during the 1960s and 1970s due to the effects of dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), which is an insecticide. Since the insecticide has been banned, the population has rebounded. The current threats to the bird as habitat degradation, sea level rise, pollution, and the destruction of coastal wetlands.  Oil spills and the use of the species’ eggs for fishing bait are also threats.

The Brown pelican is protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act and FWC general prohibitions.

A Brown Pelican Has Been Named Educational Ambassador in Florida 

Earlier this summer, News 8 reported that Arvy, a brown pelican, was named an educational ambassador for the state of Florida. 

The pelican teaches families, particularly kids, about the bird species and how humans can help them. “Arvy, our brown pelican, our celebrity pelican,” said Amy Kight, Executive Director of the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter, Florida. “She was a first-year pelican, probably young, inexperienced, hung around too long.”

Arvy was discovered on frozen water in Essex two winters ago. “Her body was really in a lot of stress,” explained Kight. “There was definitely a time that was touch and go. We didn’t know if we were going to be able to save her.”

Kight noted that the bird has overcome multiple surgeries. “She lost about 30 to 35 percent of both feet which, in captivity, she can adapt well to because she has enough so she can stand well.”

Kight went on to add that the bird has become a wonderful educational ambassador. “How communities came together and really did incredible things and utilized resources that I don’t think have ever been used for a brown pelican rescue.”