Published — Sunday 18 November 2012
Last update 17 November 2012 6:13 pm
Two brown pelicans blown to Rhode Island by the winds of Hurricane Sandy will be flown in a private plane back to their natural habitat in Florida, an animal clinic worker said on Friday. The first of the large birds, whose wingspans measure 6 to 7 feet (about 2 meters), was found on the side of a road at Fishermen’s Memorial State Park on Nov. 7, nine days after the storm made landfall in New Jersey, said Jennifer Brooks, clinic director at the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island.
The bird, a juvenile likely from a nest in North Carolina, had been tagged by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and records showed it was presumed to have died, she said. The second pelican landed on a fishing boat about 120 miles (190 km) south of Block Island the following day, she said. The crew of the boat, which provides fish to SeaWorld theme parks, fed the bird for several days before docking.
“They were a little bit thin, they were a little beat up from the storm,” Brooks said of the birds. They had lost tail feathers and suffered scratches to their throat pouches, which are prone to frostbite in northern climates, Brooks said.