On the evening of June 1st, Laura Kasa, Executive Director of Save Our Shores, and Margaret Collins, owner of Kayak Connection in Santa Cruz, were playing beach volleyball as usual on the courts of Main Beach adjacent to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
Something out of the ordinary caught their attention: a brown pelican searching for food, literally poking through bags looking for anything that might help quench it's starvation. Security staff from the Boardwalk attempted to remove and 'shoo' the pelican, but it just crossed the street and continued on its course.
Laura called Native Animal Rescue (NAR) to report the pelican and receive instructions from Molly, the Director of NAR, on how to properly handle the bird and bring it in to their facility. The pair grabbed a blanket from Margaret's car, went back to the pelican, and dropped the blanked over it so it became still. They then picked up the bird and put it in the car and drove it over to Native Animal Rescue on 17th Avenue in Santa Cruz.
The pelican was checked out at the facility and was found to be severely underweight. NAR said three other pelicans in the same condition were recently brought in, and that normally these pelicans do not come to our area until late August. The reason they are here now is because they are searching for food, unable to find enough fish and nutrition at sea.
Native Animal Rescue fed the starving brown pelican and requested a volunteer to drive the birds up to Fairfield, CA, where the International Bird Rescue facility treats the birds and then releases them back into the wild in areas more abundant with food.
For information on how to handle a wild animal in distress and bring it to the Native Animal Rescue facility, or to support or volunteer for NAR, please visit their website: http://www.nativeanimalrescue.org/