Saving a Pelican

Rescued Pelican.

We headed out to go kayaking on the Guana River today.  The Guana River is located between the ocean and the intracoastal waterway (ICW).  After unloading the kayaks onto the boat ramp, I ran off to the rest room.  On my way back, I saw a pelican hobbling up the boat ramp.  He was entangled in fishing line, a hook, and sinker.  It was wrapped around his wing and was affecting one of his feet since he couldn’t walk properly.  Regis and I set out to catch him and disentangle him from the mess.  Fortunately, a volunteer from the Reserve saw us and came to help.  Regis was the lucky guy in front of the pelican and while the pelican was trying to bite Regis’s arms with his long beak, I snuck up from behind and grabbed him.  I was able to hold him still and Regis grabbed his beak and shut it.  The volunteer had a knife so he cut the fishing line off the bird.  But, the hook was still in his wing.

The volunteer told us he could get something to cut the hook but would need about 5 minutes to get it.  I agreed to hold the bird.  At this point, I was stooped down with the bird between my legs and my arms holding him and his beak shut.  I began to feel things crawling on me and noticed that mites were jumping off the bird onto me and climbing all over my arms and legs.  When they started to crawl under my shorts, I became a little worried.  Regis helped by picking them off as best he could until the volunteer returned.  It was not possible to cut the hook and then push it through because it was stuck in too well.  The guys cut the hook as close to the skin as they could and the pelican will have to live with the tip of the hook embedded in his wing.

After releasing him, the pelican ran off into a corner between a fence and small building located on the dam on the Guana River.  We left to kayak.

If you wish to join us, see the videos below.  The first two videos show fish jumping.  In the last video, you can see some houses in the distance at the beginning of the video.  Those houses are located on the ocean.  There is not much land between the Guana River and the ocean at this point on the river.  Toward the end of the video, you will notice the camera fall and be replaced pretty quickly.  Regis learned from his first video adventure with the kayak to tether the camera to the boat.  When it falls in, it is easier to retrieve then to grope around in the muck looking for it (assuming it isn’t too deep to do that).  Anyway, having the tether worked great.



When we got back, we searched for our pelican friend and found him swimming right in front of all the fisherman.  I have a feeling this pelican will need rescuing on a daily basis!

Rescued pelican hanging out by the fisherman. We may need to check on him tomorrow and see if he needs to be disentangled from fishing line again.


2 thoughts on “Saving a Pelican

  1. That was some story about the pelican!! Wow!! I’m happy he was saved. Did you get all the bugs off? Yuk!!
    Donna says that you and Regis have your kayaks mixed up. You are in the blue one and he is in the pink one. 🙂
    I love the videos. Its so calm and quiet.


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