There is a pelican in my trunk

There is literally a pelican in my trunk.

I got a call from a friend this morning who informed me there was a pelican on the side of the road with a broken wing. She needed help because it was trying to bite her and of course this is the countryside and there were literally no cops or animal control within a half hour drive. I ofcourse rushed to help as I would for any injured animal, but a pelican? In the desert? I was pretty sure that she had mistaken the animal.

She hadn’t.

It was a white pelican tucked against a chain-link fence curled up in an impressive size ball of feathers. Then the monster stood up. Holy pelican! Those things are huge! With a 2 foot long bill that snapped aggressively at us, we had to figure out how to catch this thing. His wing was dragging and his leg was bloody.

Carrying the pelican in the blanket
Carrying the pelican in the blanket

I tossed aside my chicken catching net, which might be able to catch his head but not much else. Fortunately I had brought a blanket. The two of us grabbed the opposite sides and walked towards the pelican. He waddled away slowly and we were able to rush the blanket over his head and drop it on him. He snapped his bill a few times, but it didn’t take very much strength to hold it closed and he was very light for a big bird. We wondered if he may have been injured a while and hadn’t eaten.

Stupidly, I was in such a rush that I didn’t bring a kennel with me (or take a picture of this four foot monstrosity waddling through the desert). I was going to drive home holding him tucked in the blanket, but my friend was afraid that the bird might start fighting and cause an accident. A valid fear. So we decided to tuck him in the trunk where there wasn’t enough room for him to stand up or flap his wings around. Hopefully by the time I get home, he won’t have gotten out from his blanket wrappings! That would be a surprise when I open the door!

The pelican peaking out

Update: OK I just got him into my horse trailer.


I wasn’t sure where to put him because wild birds carry all sorts of diseases that I didn’t want to be shared with my chicken and goose flock. Or a gaggle. Yeah I know I just have more important things on my mind. Plus he’s big so I thought a horse trailer would be perfect. Nice quarantine area and nice big space in case he wants to stand up or move around, but not too big that he can injure his wing further. He had wounds on both sides of his body so we put betadine on them.

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I don’t know if that was from the accident or maybe dogs attacking him or something. Probably the accident because I’m not sure if it even a pelican would be able to fend off dogs are coyotes. Now to start the search for someone to take him for veterinary care. As much as I would like a pet pelican, it probably isn’t the best idea.

Any ideas where to take an injured pelican?

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