Surgery Set for Today for Wayward Pelican
EASTHAM — A brown pelican, typically a rare sight on Cape Cod, will be flown to Florida once its infected elbow joint heals.
The pelican was spotted near MacMillan Pier in Provincetown and reported to police on Nov. 30. The pelican was taken to Wild Care of Cape Cod, a rehabilitation facility in Eastham, with an upper respiratory infection, signs of dehydration and hypothermia, according to Provincetown animal control officer Ruth Ann Cowing.
The pelican has recovered from the lung congestion and will undergo surgery today to flush bacteria out of the infected elbow, said Wild Care executive director Stephanie Ellis.
The pelican 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 butterfish.”
Once it’s well enough, the pelican will get a plane ride south. Cape Wildlife Center in Cummaquid treated a young adult brown pelican in November that was also flown to Florida, according to Cape Wildlife Center director Deborah Millman.
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.
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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!