I love living in a city where pelicans get so much press. This paper did a wonderful job last week covering some recent news (“A long-awaited flight,” Feb. 18), and I had just been to the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center the week before that after learning about the dozens of sick birds. Perhaps it’s because I’m partial to pelicans, but still, any opportunity to watch the volunteers at the center work their magic is always a rewarding experience. The morning I went to hang around and observe, there were but three people there, yet they seemed to be doing the work of at least twice as many, methodically weighing, treating, feeding and tending to literally dozens of brown pelicans in their Pacific Coast Highway facility.
Wildlife technician Terri Oba explained to me (while administering medicine and giving basic bird check-ups) that once the birds fly down from states north, they sometimes encounter a shortage of food that can cause big problems. Starvation is a part of the problem, and other seasonal sicknesses contribute to a cycle of issues that land these birds here in the center. Considering the options for the birds, however, the center is a blessing. Oba credits Animal Control with being efficient in getting the pelicans secured in the center, while at the same time juggling many other sea birds also affected by the recent storms. “All this on top of our usual influx of opossums, raccoons and other animals,” she smiled while working on yet another pelican. “This is a busy season for us here.”