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Climate and Environment

Bird Rescue Non-Profit Calling For Donations Amid 'Brown Pelican Crisis'

Several Brown pelicans stand on pieces of cardboard and gray towels. They are in a brightly lit corner of a room with white walls and white curtains.
International Bird Rescue says warmer waters are threatening Brown pelicans, which have been found starving and sick in parks and on roadways.
(Ariana Gastelum
International Bird Rescue)
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The nonprofit International Bird Rescue is sounding the alarm about what it calls a "pelican crisis" in L.A. County.

The number of sick Brown pelicans at the group's L.A. Wildlife Center has topped 200 — the highest number in a decade.

The organization is looking for donations to help with the influx of birds in the past two weeks. The donations would help feed the starving pelicans.

Experts say warmer ocean water is pushing fish deeper, making it harder for the birds to find enough to eat.

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“A lot of these birds we're finding in roadways or in parks in places away from the ocean, which is really unusual. And so that's a sign that these birds are really having a hard time."

Bird Rescue spokesperson Russ Curtis says pelicans are coming into the center "cold and emaciated," some with "wing injuries."

"We're getting more birds that are simply starving," said Rebecca Duerr, who directs the bird rescue effort.

"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."

She said there haven't been so many sick or injured Brown pelicans since 2012, when the operation saved about 800 birds.

Curtis says caring for the birds is expensive and donations are needed. Bird Rescue is spending about $2,000 a day on fish alone to feed the starving pelicans.

You can find out more at

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And, if you want to see the center's work in action, you can check out their live BirdCam, also on their website.

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