The Pelican Mystery

The International Bird Rescue Center has been overrun by starving
pelicans this winter. Speculation about what’s sickening birds from
Southern California to Oregon has ranged from El Nino conditions to climate change to polluted runoff.

The bottom line is that hundreds of Brown Pelicans have ended up sick
and malnourished. Many birds stayed too long in the frigid coastal
waters off Oregon and Northern California in search of fish prey that
just weren’t present in high densities. By migrating late, many pelicans
were buffeted by major storms and they didn’t build up the fat reserves
to withstand the inclement weather.

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