Injured Pelicans Still Recovering From Gustav

By Steve Phillips - bio | email

ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX)-Injured pelicans are still recovering from the stress caused by Hurricane Gustav. Animal rescue workers picked-up more than two dozen storm weary birds and began nursing them back to health.

"I know babies, I know babies," said Tammi Carson, as she tries to calm eight young pelicans temporarily kept in a backyard cage.

She's one of the animal care giver volunteers for Wildlife Care and Rescue Center.

"The majority of them were found over in Waveland. And they were picked up and brought over here. They were wore out. They were emaciated. They hadn't eaten. They probably blew in from the islands where pelicans nest at," said Carson.

Mealtime for the storm weary birds means gently force feeding fish.

"If they don't eat, then we have to hand feed them, which entails holding their head up, opening their mouth and shoving the food down into their gullet. And then rubbing it so they don't throw it back up on us," she said.

"Oh yeah, you like that don't you," said Carson, while spraying a water hose toward the young recovering birds.

The rescue group could use more large cages. The eight juvenile birds are among more than two dozen pelicans the group is caring for.

"This is the biggest compound we have for them right now here. And as you see, they need to have a lot of open area, a lot of space. They have a very wide wing span so when they're stretching and stuff they need to have room to be able to stretch their wings and not cause damage to their wings when they're in captivity," she said.

"Come here. I know, come on, come here," said Carson, as she coaxed another bird that needed feeding, "As you can see, this is very invasive. They don't like it at all. And it's such a wonderful smell."

The young pelicans will be returned to the wild as soon as they're strong enough.

"It really depends on how well they do. If they keep gaining weight, if they don't show any signs of the stress, we like to get them out as quick as possible, cause the longer they're in captivity, the more stressed out their going to get. They don't like being here," she says.

The Wildlife Care & Rescue group needs supplies and volunteers.

If you'd like to help out, you can reach them at (228) 669-2737.

Or, you can mail a donation to:

Wildlife Care & Rescue, PO Box 4424, Biloxi, MS 39531