Sick pelicans showing up along California’s Central Coast

May 18, 2022


Wildlife organizations report a large increase in the number of sick and dying brown pelicans along the coastlines of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties during the past three days.

Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network rescued over 50 emaciated, weak and disoriented pelicans in just two days. Pacific Wildlife Care in Morro Bay rescued 11 pelicans.

“Most of them are beached, unable to fly or move, or are found in an unusual location,” Wildlife Care Network posted on Facebook. “Our team of rescuers and volunteers have been retrieving and transporting these patients to our hospital in Goleta.

The exact cause of the pelicans’ condition is unknown at this time.

If you find a pelican that seems weak and disoriented in Santa Barbara County, call Wildlife Care Network at (805) 681-1080. In San Luis Obispo County call Pacific Wildlife Care at (805) 543-9453.

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Hope they rebound. Environmentalists did a good job of helping them comeback from dire straights when farmers were still using DDT. Luckily, that poison was banned. I fear the current die off won’t be so simple to avoid as climate change alters the environment where these birds live.

Climate change? Wildlife workers are finding sick birds in Santa Barbara and Morro Bay, but not Monterey Bay. Perhaps climate change doesn’t affect Monterey? Pelican “pandemics” are not a new phenomenon. The Central Coast saw similar episodes in 2007 and 2010. Then it was related to ocean currents, fish populations, and domoic acid from algae blooms. Good detective work will be required to learn whether this latest case is disease related or caused by a confluence of factors. Whatever the cause, sacrificing more virgins to the Volcano God of Climate Change will have the same result – none.

Sounds like the bird flu that was going around out east has made it here. Sad. Killing eagles and raptors at an alarming rate…