California pelicans left disoriented, dead from mysterious illness

By on Fri, January 9, 2009

US Fish & Wildlife Service
California Brown Pelican

A mysterious illness is leaving pelicans on the California coast disoriented and eventually dead, probably because they are unable to feed themselves, reports the Merc.

"As a conservative number, we’ve seen over 60 live, sick pelicans in the last five days," said Rebecca Dmytryk, the spokesperson for WildRescue, a nonprofit wildlife rescue organization based in Moss Landing. ...

But there hasn’t been an increase in sick birds in Santa Cruz, said Molly Richardson, the director of the Native Animal Rescue of Santa Cruz. ...

"I’ve been rescuing birds since 1981 and I’ve never seen anything like this," Dmytryk said. "It’s absolutely unusual." The source of the illness that leaves the birds disoriented and starving is unknown.

Save Our Shores is asking the public to report any sick or dead pelicans in the area, the contact number for WildRescue is 866-WILD-911.