I was meeting a friend for lunch over at the beach and stopped at nearby Seaside Seabird Sanctuary for a quick walk. The sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates over 10,000 birds a year and most get released but some are permanently disabled and live their lives out here. Many are missing wings, eyes or parts of their beaks. I noticed in the one of the pelican enclosures that they were starting to nest. When the babies are born they are released into the wild. It looks like one of the pelicans didn’t understand the nest concept.
Some of the couples were just starting to get frisky in late January. It looks like the lady was missing an eye.
This one in the back of the enclosure was stretching his mouth. He was also missing an eye.
They release injured birds once they are better (some may have gotten sick from red tide) and I happened to be there the afternoon they were doing a big release. Since the sanctuary sits right on the beach they are able to set them free right here.
The volunteers walked the pelicans down to the shore and let them go. Most took off immediately but a few hung around the beach for a while before flying away. I’m sure for the volunteers it makes all the work worthwhile to see them fly away. If you notice they are all holding the pelican’s beak open as they carry them out to the beach. Pelicans don’t have noses. They breath through their beaks so it’s important that someone rescuing an injured pelican doesn’t hold the beak closed.