Sick pelicans may be victim of rain runoff

DOWNEY - Pelicans normally found near the coast are turning up sick in local cities, including Downey, and last week's rainstorms may be to blame, animal control officials said today.Sick pelicans have been picked up by animal control officers in Downey, Buena Park, Vernon, Paramount, Bellflower and Lakewood, according to Capt. Aaron Reyes, director of operators for the Southeast Area Animal Control Authority (SEAACA). "Our officers are reporting that all the birds, despite being found in different cities and on different days, all appear to be suffering from lethargy," Reyes said. As of Thursday morning, officers had collected nine sick pelicans, including one that died. Officials think last week's thunderstorms may be responsible for the sick birds. "Heavy rainfall typically increases pollutants in the waterways, and washes the oils from a pelican's feathers, making it difficult to fly or catch food," said Dr. Brad Brunskill of SEAACA. The pelicans are being stabilized at SEAACA headquarters in Downey before being transported to International Bird Rescue in San Pedro. Officials warned residents not to attempt to capture a downed pelican and instead to call SEAACA at (562) 803-3301, ext. 229.

********** Published: February 5, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 42