SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network (SBWCN) had an unusually large number of brown pelican patients over the weekend when the nonprofit rescued more than 30 of the birds.
The pelicans came from all over Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, with most arriving severely weak, emaciated, and unable to fly, said SBWCN Executive Director Ariana Katovich, adding that the cause of their condition was unknown.
“I’m so proud of our staff, volunteers, and the entire community for jumping into action to help these pelicans,” she continued. “While we’re still unsure what’s causing this emergency situation, we are continuing to take in these birds and help them in any way we can.”
Seven of the pelicans were rescued on Saturday and 25 were rescued on Sunday.
Some of the birds were hypothermic, injured, unable to move, or found in odd locations.
SBWCN staff and volunteers retrieved and transported the pelicans to their Goleta facility, where the SBWCN team is providing them with fluids, medication, and supportive care.
The SBWCN had to convert its Seabird Bay, where normally only a handful of seabirds in critical conditions are held, had to be converted into a large pen in order to accommodate all the new pelicans, Katovich said.
If anyone finds a pelican they believe needs help, they are encouraged to call the SBWCN Helpline at 805-681-1080 and provide the details and exact location of the bird. If the bird is deceased, the public is asked to report it to the Helpline and not touch or handle it.