Pelicans that were blown north to Rhode Island courtesy of Hurricane Sandy were placed on a private plane for a ride home to Florida on Saturday. The two brown pelicans were being taken care of by the Wildlife Rehabilitation Association of Rhode Island after their traumatic ordeal. The birds hung out in a camping tent while waiting their transport back to the warm shores of the Sunshine State.
One of the large pelicans had a wingspan which measures nearly seven-feet wide. It was found on the side of the road near Fishermen’s Memorial State Park nine days after Hurricane Sandy reached land in New Jersey. The likely juvenile bird is believed to have come from a nest in North Carolina, according to NBC News.
The lost pelican had been tagged by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and was presumed dead. The second dislocated bird landed on a fishing boat approximately 120 miles south of Block Island. The boat crew fed the pelican for several days before they returned to the dock. Ironically, the crew routinely provides fish to SeaWorld to feed to the park’s inhabitants.
Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island Clinic Director Jennifer Brooks had this to say about the dislocated pelicans:
“They were a little bit thin. They were a little beat up from the storm. They had lost tail feathers and suffered scratches to their throat pouches, which are prone to frostbite in northern climates.”
Animal care workers kept the pelicans in an outdoor shelter before relocating them inside the clinic to stay in a camping tent. The birds were placed in dog crates on Saturday and flown to the Mary Keller Seabird Rehabilitation Sanctuary in Florida. The $2,000 cost of the flight was paid for by public donations.