Early on during the Refugio Beach spill, I blogged about an adult male pelican called Blue One. He was the first pelican rescued from the spill, and when he came in he was completely saturated in oil, and pretty sad.
Even after he was washed, he had some problems: his foot joints were swollen, and he was very weak. We babied him along, and gave him lots of TLC. It took him a while to learn how to feed himself, and at every stage of the rehabilitation process, he seemed to need more time. Finally, he was out in the aviary, self-feeding, with normal joints, and walking and swimming well. However, he wasn’t flying, and since he came in with a healed wing fracture, we were a bit worried.
Well, I never blogged about his release and I’ve gotten a ton of questions about him . . . many from people who started by saying, “I’m afraid to ask, but how is Blue One?” I realized that people were afraid to ask because they thought he might have died, or been euthanized, so I want to set the record straight and announce that Blue One did eventually start flying! He was released, and not only that, he was seen by Kelly of International Bird Rescue after his release, looking well. Here he is in a photo that she took:
So never fear, Blue One is out there in the world, being a pelican, and I couldn’t be happier about it! He has a green plastic band on, as do all of the oiled pelicans from the Refugio spill, so if you see a bird with a green band and a code that begins with “Z,” please let us know. It’s the best news you could give us.
Green-banded pelicans can be reported here: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/owcn/green-banded-pelicans.cfm