Pelican to be Flown to Florida after Healing on Cape

EASTHAM – A second brown pelican, typically a rare sight on Cape Cod, will be flown to Florida once an infected elbow joint heals, according to Wild Care executive director Stephanie Ellis.

The pelican was reported to police around noon Nov. 30 near the entrance of MacMillan Pier in Provincetown, and was taken to the wildlife rehabilitation center Wild Care with an upper respiratory infection and signs of dehydration and hypothermia, according to Provincetown animal control officer Ruth Ann Cowing. Today (Dec. 13), following a recovery from the lung congestion, the pelican will undergo surgery to flush bacteria out of the infected elbow joint, Ellis said.

Brown pelicans typically breed from Maryland to Venezuela and Trinidad, according to the Smithsonian National Zoological Park. But after breeding they may fly as far north as British Columbia and Nova Scotia. They typically stay close to the shoreline.

The pelican at Wild Care weighs about 8 pounds, and has a white breast and belly, indicating that it is an immature bird, Ellis said.

“They have goofy personalities,” she said. “He definitely looks forward to handouts of herring and butter fish.”

A handful of sightings of brown pelicans occurred on Cape Cod after Hurricane Sandy, at the end of October. Shortly after the storm, Wild Care treated a brown pelican that had pneumonia and did not survive, Ellis said. Cape Wildlife Center in Cummaquid treated a young adult brown pelican blown off-course by the storm and it was flown to Florida, according to Cape Wildlife Center director Deborah Millman.

If you find an animal in
distress, please call us at:

508-240-2255

Our helpline and our facility
are open EVERY DAY from
9:00 am – 5:00 pm.
We are located at the
Orleans rotary (on the Eastham side).

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Wild Care has a state-of-the-art seabird therapy pool, which allows seabirds and waterfowl to exercise on running water. This will help our bird friends recover more quickly so they can get back to their watery habitats!