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Climate and Environment

101 Sick And Injured Brown Pelicans Rescued In Over A Week

A woman with a surgical mask and gloves extends a brown pelicans wing.
Kadi Erickson, a wildlife rehabilitation technician at the International Bird Rescue in San Pedro, examines a brown pelican's wing.
(Ariana Gastelum
International Bird Rescue )
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The International Bird Rescue at the Los Angeles Wildlife Center has rescued 101 sick and injured brown pelicans since last week. Still, the San Pedro center expects to see a couple hundred more by next week.

Rebecca Duerr, who directs the bird rescue effort, said there haven't been so many sick or injured Brown Pelicans since 2012, when the operation saved about 800 birds.

"We're getting more birds that are simply starving," she said. "They're super hungry. Once we get them stabilized, their primary symptom is that they are so hungry. And we're getting a mix of ages. It's all age groups."

Most of the birds the center is seeing, some with broken wings and legs, come from the Malibu and Santa Barbara County coastline.

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But more birds from Monterey and Santa Cruz are starting to arrive at the bird rescue's location in the Bay Area, said the wildlife center's Russ Curtis.

"We're not ocean scientists, but the change in the environment gives a little indication of what's going on," he said. "This year, there's a high rate of the population — it's been a good breeding season with lots more birds out there, possibly looking for fewer fish or some sort of anomaly."

State officials also blame warmer water temperatures, which drive some fish deeper than the pelicans can reach, Duerr said.

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