Two brown pelicans released in San Pedro after recovering from severe injuries

The female pelican spent 45 days in care and required multiple surgeries and over 500 stitches.

Amanda Palacios Image
Friday, April 26, 2024
Two brown pelicans released after recovering from severe injuries
After undergoing extensive rehabilitation, two brown pelicans were released in San Pedro by the nonprofit International Bird Rescue.

SAN PEDRO, Calif. (KABC) -- After a long journey of rehabilitation, two brown pelicans are soaring high and spreading their wings. Both birds recovered from severe injuries and were released by the nonprofit, International Bird Rescue in San Pedro.

"So the first bird was a male bird that came in with a very large wound on his leg that took rather a long time to heal, like a couple of months. So he was in our aviary for quite a while. And while he was in the aviary, he got to meet Blue, the bird with the incredibly large pouch laceration," said Rebecca Duerr, director of research and veterinary science at International Bird Rescue.

The female pelican nicknamed Blue due to the color of her temporary band was rescued in March by a group of fishermen who noticed she had an injury to her pouch. Blue spent 45 days in care and required multiple surgeries and over 500 stitches.

"Her pouch was completely slashed from her lower mandibles all the way to the tip of the pouch. And without those pouches, the pelicans can't feed. So without the help of the rescuer and the work that we did at Bird Rescue, that bird would have starved to death," said Kylie Clatterbuck, wildlife center manager at International Bird Rescue

The nonprofit said they see many pelicans with pouch trauma caused by fishing gear or from them eating sharp objects. But Blue's injuries showed clear signs it was caused by a human.

"I love being able to repair these animals, especially if one of their injuries is human-caused. So all the fishing line birds or fishing gear injuries," Duerr said. "And this sort of injury appears that it's probably caused by a person doing something malicious. We just love being able to get those birds back out in the wild."

The organization said they rescue over 1,500 birds a year. But they rely heavily on donations to continue their life-saving efforts.

"If you're willing to donate to International Bird Rescue, you can visit our website at and you can donate. Every little bit helps and it gives all of these birds a second chance," Clatterbuck said.

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