Sunday, 2 December 2007

Back to Nature on a Wing and a Prayer

The Marine Science Center at Lighthouse Point Park in Ponce Inlet has a marvellous coastal wildlife rehabilitation programme. Their main patients are injured seabirds, manatees and turtles. We were lucky enough to be present at the release of 2 gulls and 4 brown pelicans that had been brought to the centre with injuries earlier this year, and had recovered enough to be returned to the wild.

The birds arrived at the beach in style riding on a golf cart, 2 huge pelicans squeezed into each large animal carrier, and a gull in each of the smaller carriers.

Everyone was instructed to stand well back to give the birds plenty of room, and the cages were opened. Watch out! Here they come!

A little confused as to what to do next. Why are all these humans staring at us?

But eventually all the birds waddled towards the water and stood there, probably assessing the situation, while the admiring crowd waited for some action.

These brown pelicans are surprisingly large, 42-54 inches in length, and weigh from 6-12 lbs and have a wingspan from 6 to 8.2 ft.

As soon as the gulls flapped their wings and took off, the pelicans got the message and followed. A huge cheer went up from the crowd.
Look closely and you can see them flying in the distance.

Great work by the dedicated Marine Science Center staff and volunteers.

24 comments:

Old Wom Tigley said...

Stunning.. I'm going to link right to this post... I will also be spending some time reading about the Centre.. thanks for the nudge here..

sheoflittlebrain said...

I love that these birds were all successfully rehabilitated! And I love that you got to see them released and then shared the experience with us...

I also enjoyed seeing your beach photos. The moon over water is stunning!

Lilli & Nevada said...

Those are wonderful photos, how lucky you were to be able to see that and be so close.

lorenzothellama said...

I love pelecans. They are so comical.
Fenella was indeed a friend of mine, but my very best friend was 'Charmian'.

Lilli & Nevada said...

P.S I forgot to say that If you have never been to Oregon, its a beautiful state we have everything from Desert were i live to coastline, many lakes as well, and our coasts are beautiful but nothing like the warmth of FLorida, how warm was the water?

imac said...

Ol Womtig sent me over. Yup Tom was right too.
I think your blog very is very good, your photos are excellent and your news items are very interesting too with brill posts. going to link you, so I'll be back.

dot said...

That was a pretty neat event!

rosemary said...

All of your pix in this and the last post are wonderful. Seeing wildlife released is quite a memorable thing. I haven't seen birds but I have seen bears and moose relocated.

tut-tut said...

So many animals need us to help them out of the mess we've made for them. As you may guess, I'm most interested in turtles . . .

Vintage to Victorian said...

Fabulous. There's something rather special about pelicans isn't there, and to see their rehabilitation must have been quite something.

I've sent you an email with an Ebay item to view - thoughts of home!

Sue x

Annie said...

You ARE an animal lover. No wonder you feel sorry for the birds, outside, in wintertime.

Peter said...

Must have been a fantastic feeling see them fly away!

photowannabe said...

Its so nice to see a success story. the pelicans are magnificent birds.

Luke said...

very nice birds, beautiful scenery too!
thank you for visiting my Wiley Willows Blog

june in florida said...

Beautiful pics, pelicans are such comedians and so full of character. Connected to you through Meatereader.I am originally from Oxford UK. The fee you were charged for online access is probably a county decision, i have not encountered this any where else.Just walk in and jump on the computer.Come back soon.

Ash said...

Lovely birds!

lorenzothellama said...

Hey Shammy, Ted and I are trying to arrange a reunion at Martin's for Christmas Pud and to cause a bit more chaos. You up for it?
Love Lorenzo.

Changes in the wind is said...

What a treat to be able to be part of a this recovery with wonderful results. I especially like how the birds seem to be confused by the people...we are indeed a stange bunch.

Libbys Blog said...

I am so jealous of all that lovely sun, sea and sand!!!!
Crimbo my dear friend is one of many slang words for Christmas!!!

LC said...

Great shots the pelicans are cool birds, I would love to see them up close like that I love birds well just about any kind of animal for that matter,it is great that people are making an effort to help the animals get back to the wild.

An odd sort of bird is the Pelican his beak can hold more than his belly can.
Lloyd and Ranger

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a WONDERFUL thing to have witnessed and to have taken these great pictures, too! It warms the heart in every way! So thrilled that this place does such fine fine work.....! And thanks for sharing this amazing "happening".

Outhouse Capital of Canada said...

We see pelicans when we go to mexico.

ICs comment about the pelicans beak, didnt thatcome from a Guiness ad from years ago.

Ginnie said...

Awww. That's priceless, Ex-S. Yay for rehabilitation!

Kerri said...

Wow - What a neat thing to witness and be a part of. I am a huge bird lover and this makes my heart sing :)