National

Feb 10, 2010 2:35 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Storms overwhelm pelican rescue group

A bird rescue group is releasing brown pelicans in Southern California to make room for more of the ailing birds affected by storms and oily runoff.

Paul Kelway of the International Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro says 10 or 20 pelicans, perhaps more, will be released Wednesday afternoon.

The center desperately needs the room. Kelway says it usually gets 400 pelicans a year, but it has received 300 in the last three weeks. A third of the pelicans have died, and no one knows exactly why. The birds are starving, and something is contaminating their feathers so they are not waterproof. Kelway says California's recent rains and runoff are the latest factors.

Brown pelicans were removed from the endangered species list in November.

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