Injured pelican
The injured pelican before it was rescued by Newport Beach Police. Courtesy police department

An American white pelican rescued by a Newport Beach animal control officer in November has been healed and is ready to be set free again, a representative of the organization that cared for the bird said.

The pelican, which was brought to the International Bird Rescue in San Pedro on Nov. 22, will be set free Thursday afternoon, according to Angie Trumbo of the International Bird Rescue Tuesday.

“He’s very feisty,” Trumbo said. “He’s starting to get a little restless. He’s made a huge recovery. He started out emaciated, starving, and now he’s pumped up, almost double the weight when he came in.”

The pelican got tangled up in a fishing lure and ended up at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine. Attempts to rescue the bird there failed, and he took flight and made it to a driveway in Newport Beach where a resident called authorities.

Animal Control Officer Nick Ott managed to catch the frightened and disoriented bird and get it to the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, where the fishing lure was removed and he was stabilized so he could be taken for more comprehensive care at the International Bird Rescue in San Pedro.

“When he initially came in the severity of the fracture of his bill made us think we weren’t sure how well that would turn out, but our veterinarian is the best one in the area for handling those types of breaks and has handled similar fractures on many brown pelicans,” Trumbo said.

“He’s definitely a fighter. He went through a lot for sure,” Trumbo said.

The broken bill prevented the pelican from eating, Trumbo said.

It was unusual to track down the pelican near the ocean, because white pelicans are fresh-water birds, Trumbo said.

—City News Service

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