WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - A wildlife rescue team is working to save young pelicans and other birds injured by the tropical storm. Strong winds and pounding waves from the storm system washed ashore several birds that were either injured or exhausted.
With a net in hand, wildlife rescue volunteer Randy Hines captures a young pelican on the beach in Waveland Monday. The bird shows signs of storm trauma: Bruised feet and swollen joints.
"They're bruised from all the paddling they've had to do when getting blown off their islands," Hines said.
Tropical Storm Lee's wind and waves pushed baby pelicans off their nesting grounds.
"The Chandelier Island chain in Louisiana have a lot of rookeries, pelican rookeries out there. And we had the same problem happen in Gustav in 2008, where a lot of them were washed in from those rookeries off of the islands," said Allison Sharpe with the Wildlife Care & Rescue Center.
Healthy pelicans fly off as Hines approaches with the net. The remaining bird, an injured juvenile, was frightened, but unable to fly away.
Anyone who stumbles across an injured pelican should not attempt such a rescue.
"First of all, people have to understand these are federally protected birds and they're not supposed to touch them. We've been receiving calls since late yesterday afternoon about a lot of the birds down here on the beaches with injuries to their wings."
And it's not just pelicans. The group picked up an injured seagull at the Pass Christian Harbor. They also found an exhausted northern gannet is also a storm rescue bird.
"They dive into the water, just like our pelicans, to catch their meal."
The goal is the same for all rescued bird: Nurse them back to health, and return them to where they belong.
"Try to get them re-hydrated, get some food into them, get them where they're old enough to start flying by themselves and to obviously release them."
Again, if you find an injured pelican or other sea bird, you should call the professionals rather than attempt a rescue yourself. You can reach the Wildlife Care and Rescue Center at (228) 669-2737.