With 13 birds settled begrudgingly in their crates, Beavers, Egger and a group of colleagues packed them into vans and drove them to Corona del Mar Main Beach. The staff lined up seven sheet-covered crates facing the ocean, waited for Beavers to count to three, then unlocked the crates and pulled the sheets off.
A crowd of two dozen onlookers peered curiously as, one by one, the pelicans waddled out onto the sand, spread their wings and sailed over the ocean. Soon, all the pelicans were floating together in a tight circle in the water — “They’re real social,” Beavers explained to the crowd — except for one that remained on the shore.
Looking befuddled, it glanced around at the tide, the swimmers, the sailboats and the strangers with cameras around it. Finally, after nearly 10 minutes, the bird ruffled its feathers and took off, while the crowd applauded and snapped photos.