I have volunteered for a raptor rescue for about 6 months or so now. I started off feeding and caring for our “display” birds, or birds that live in outdoor enclosures that cannot be released because they were imprinted or injured. I then started helping out in the clinic, which houses injured birds that need medical treatment. Most of the clinic birds are released into the wild. I am now trained on clinic duty, so for one weekend a month I get to take care of the outside birds, treat the indoor clinic birds, and take care of and assess any injured birds that come in. Last weekend was my weekend caretaker training. As I as driving down I got a call from the clinic assistant director. He mentioned he would be a few minutes late as he had to get fish for “the pelican.” Huh. Ok. we do get waterfowl in addition to raptors, but a pelican? Really?
Well, the pelican ended up being a juvenile pelican that had fallen out of his nest. Some people had fed it fish to help him out, and he became imprinted (he thought the humans were his parents). Once imprinted a bird cannot be released into the wild. George will be looking for placement in a zoo or similar facility as we aren’t set up for pelicans long term. He is adorable and very social. It was amazing to watch him eat his fish! He’ll be a big hit wherever he goes.
Here are a few pictures. His wing span is already bigger than a bald eagle’s!