15 pelicans dead, dozens injured in Avila Beach
August 26, 2011
In what experts are calling a feeding frenzy, at least 15 Brown Pelicans have died and dozens have injured themselves in the excitement of finding an unusual amount of fish in the San Luis Harbor in Avila Beach.
The popular birds, whose wing spans can reach 8 feet, dramatically dive into ocean waters to scoop up fish they spot from above. The injured pelicans appear to be mostly juveniles, who during their dives, clip rocks near the rocky waters edge where large numbers of anchovies have gathered, said San Luis Obispo Harbor District Manager Steve McGrath.
Dozens of Pelicans, some with mangled wings or bloody chests, have congregated at Port San Luis to partake of the feast. Volunteers from Pacific Wildlife Care were in Avila Beach on Thursday morning collecting some of the bloody birds.
However, by late afternoon, at least six more injured pelicans were perched on the rocks adjacent to the pier. Dozens of young pelicans, with their abdomens extended from the banquet, were so lethargic that young children on the pier could actually pet the majestic animals.
“I have seen an abundance of dead pelicans in the past two weeks, more than I have ever seen before,” said Kurt Miller, an employee of Patriot Sport Fishing Tackle and Bait since 1986. “The bloody pelicans, I have never seen before. And some are acting very lethargic.