Two brown pelicans blown to Rhode Island by the winds of Hurricane Sandy were flying back Saturday to their natural habitat in Florida -- via a private plane.
The first of the large birds, whose wingspans measure 6 to 7 feet, 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 U.S. 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 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.
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Wow! What a story Steph! We are going to Key West in March with my whole family, Mom, Sister and her family. I will take as many pictures of birds as I can find. I'm not a photographer though! I will post them on your bird-group wall.~ Melinda
I can't wait to see your lovely pictures.