highrise pelicanA Brown Pelican hatched in the spring and learned to fend for himself during the heat of the summer. But he was still young and inexperienced when the rain and cold came. A freeze drove the fish deeper into the water to escape the cold and he had a hard time finding enough food.

Some Brown Pelicans migrate to warmer climates for the winter, others stay here year-round and stake out the better fishing areas and then there are the newbies. Every winter, sick, weak and parasite filled adolescent Brown Pelicans move inland in search for food.

The call was intriguing; a Brown Pelican had parked itself on the fifth floor balcony of a high-rise condo downtown. It looked bewildered and seemed too weak to fly. The Brown Pelican is an endangered species and while the numbers are rebounding, they haven’t been delisted.

WR&E doesn’t have the resources to respond to most wildlife calls,  occasionally a case is so extreme and retrieval so dangerous that volunteers feel compelled. In this case, WR&E enlisted the help of the Houston SPCA Rescue drivers. The Houston SPCA and WR&E are affiliated organizations and we work jointly to aid animals in crisis. 

pelican exam 1Back at the Wildlife Center, the pelican was found to be emaciated and dehydrated. Once the immune system was compromised, the intestinal parasites that were kept in check had begun to wildly multiply. A veterinarian from Texas A&M Veterinary School and her students performed a complete examination. The pelican was given medication for the parasites and warm fluids via gavage feeding.

A video of the pelican being gavage fed will be posted soon. A e-mail “blast” will be sent to our distribution list when this video is ready for viewing – so be sure to sign up in the “Subscribe to WR&E” box at the top right corner of any page!

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