SAN PEDRO, Calif. (KABC) -- Dozens of pelicans have arrived dehydrated and distressed to the International Bird Rescue Center in San Pedro since last month.
Rescue workers said many of the pelicans showing up are in their first or second year of life, many are half the weight they should be, all sharing the same symptoms.
"Very young, very skinny, really dehydrated," said Devin Hanson, a rehabilitation technician at the International Bird Rescue Center.
Workers said they began hydrating the sick birds.
"Once they had enough fluids in them with IV's or with salt water tubings we would give them, they pretty much would start to eat on their own," Hanson said.
Officials said they don't know what caused the birds to become so sick.
"There's a lot of speculation it could be a shortage of fish. Young pelicans feed really close to shore, so if the waters are warmer and the fish are deeper, it's harder for them to get fish," Hanson said.
On Wednesday, three rehabilitated brown pelicans were able to fly again. After several weeks of care, it was the day so many have waited to see as they were released at Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro.
"It's great to see a visual thank you for all that we do," Hanson said.
Officials said another 10 to 15 pelicans are also almost ready to be released. Another 20 were too sick to be helped and had to be euthanized.
Sick pelicans find second chance in San Pedro rescue center