New Pelican Theory
There may be a new and plausible theory surrounding the mysterious brown pelican deaths here in California.
The Sacramento Bee is reporting that migrating pelicans may have been caught in the coastal freeze in Oregon during December's record-low winter storms.
One clue pointing researchers to frostbite is the number of skin injuries the dead birds have, particularly on their feet and feeding pouches, which would be most vulnerable to the effects of cold. The winter storms hit early and in the middle of their migration south, leaving them injured and exhausted by the time they reached California, too tired to feed or nest properly.
My most recent visits to the beach have been encouraging. I've seen lots of pelicans flying, diving, and generally behaving like healthy pelicans. In fact, I've seen more this winter than I have in a long, long time. We may not be able to change the weather to protect them, but there are surely many other steps to be taken so that each year scenes like the one below will become commonplace, but never taken for granted.
Long may they dive.