WATCH: Coast Guard, wildlife specialists rescue injured pelican in Cape Charles


(Courtesy: Coast Guard)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Members of the Coast Guard and Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources rescued a pelican in distress in Cape Charles Saturday.

A representative from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries called the Coast Guard Cape Charles watchstation around 9:45 a.m. reporting the injured pelican. The caller said the bird was seen on one of the concrete ships near Kiptopeke State Park.

The Coast Guard launched a boat crew aboard a 45-foot response boat with a wildlife rehabilitation specialist with them.

After arriving on the scene, the crew found the pelican and were able to safely get its wing free where it was stuck in the rebar. They were able to carefully put the bird in a container to bring to shore for rehabilitation. 

“It happened pretty quick,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul Hurd, the officer of the day for Station Cape Charles. “It took about 10 minutes from hopping off the boat to bringing the bird aboard. It had gotten its wing stuck in the rebar of the cement ship, but we were able to bend that back and free it.”

Coast Guard officials say the pelican is resting comfortably after a brief surgical procedure needed from the injury it sustained to its wing. The rehabilitation specialist the Coast Guard brought out to the scene is happy with the outcome. 

“I can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday than helping save the life of that pelican,” said Jody Sokel, a wildlife rehabilitation specialist with Wildlife ER. 

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