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Metchosin's pelican population doubles

Pely the American pelican (left) now has a buddy at Wild ARC in Metchosin. The brown pelican was flown from Prince Rupert after being attacked and injured by crows.  - Wild ARC photo
Pely the American pelican (left) now has a buddy at Wild ARC in Metchosin. The brown pelican was flown from Prince Rupert after being attacked and injured by crows.
— image credit: Wild ARC photo

Pely the pelican at Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Metchosin now has a roommate.

The two big birds – Pely, a female American white pelican, and the new male brown pelican – will be living together for the next few weeks during rehabilitation and then will be returned to the wild.

Pely has been at Wild ARC since January. She came from a wild animal centre in Manitoba to the SPCA facility in Metchosin, which is better able to care for the sick and injured bird.

Pelicans are social creatures and staff at Wild ARC placed mirrors in the enclosure to give Pely the illusion of companions. Pelicans can become depressed in captivity.

Even though Pely now has company, the mirrors are staying put. “We are keeping the mirrors in there so now she has more friends,” said Kari Marks, manager of Wild ARC.

The brown pelican, who has not been given a name, was rescued while being attacked by crows in Port Edward, near Prince Rupert. Such birds are rare for northern B.C.

The brown pelican arrived at Wild ARC on April 2. Staff was excited to give Pely a friend, but they kept the birds separated at first to make sure the brown pelican wasn’t carrying diseases.

“We kept the brown pelican separated for the first six days,” Marks said. “We were not sure they would get along. When we put them together for the first time they stood there and ignored each other, which is a good thing.”

A bad thing would have been a fight.

Prior to brown pelican’s arrival, Pely has been showing signs of anxiety, but since bunking up with a pal, she has relaxed,

The birds are spending rehabilitation time between the aquatic centre for use of the pool and the flight cage, where they can spread their wings and get a bit of exercise.

When fully recovered, Pely will be released to her colony in Shoal Lake, Manitoba. The brown pelican will be released on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

 

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