Two brown pelicans blown to Rhode Island by the winds of Hurricane Sandy were flying back Saturday to their natural habitat in Florida -- via a private plane.
The first of the large birds, whose wingspans measure 6 to 7 feet, was found on the side of a road at Fishermen's Memorial State Park on Nov. 7, nine days after the storm made landfall in New Jersey, said Jennifer Brooks, clinic director at the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island.
The bird, a juvenile likely from a nest in North Carolina, had been tagged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and records showed it was presumed to have died, she said.
The second pelican landed on a fishing boat about 120 miles south of Block Island the following day, she said. The crew of the boat, which provides fish to SeaWorld theme parks, fed the bird for several days before docking.
"They were a little bit thin, they were a little beat up from the storm," Brooks said of the birds. They had lost tail feathers and suffered scratches to their throat pouches, which are prone to frostbite in northern climates, Brooks said.
Animal workers had been keeping the birds in an outdoor shelter before moving them into a camping tent inside the clinic.
As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.