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Mysterious Crash Landings By Pelicans In San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Animal welfare officials were treating two Pelicans Friday after they were recovered from the streets of San Francisco.

The landings in the city came a week after more than 25 of the seabirds were brought into a wildlife rehabilitation center in Southern California.

International Bird Rescue officials said there have been many cases recently of pelicans landing on city streets, residential yards and airport runways. A well-publicized incident occurred April 28 when two pelicans landed at Pepperdine University's graduation ceremony in Malibu.

"They just don't want to fly," said Russ Curtis, spokesman for the organization in San Francisco told the Associated Press.

San Francisco Animal Control Executive Director Virginia Donahue told KPIX 5 that there had been three pelican encounters in the city within the last 24 hours. Two of the seabirds were recovered alive -- one on Pacific Avenue and another at Pier 39 -- and one was recovered deceased at Stern Grove.

Donahue said she was not aware of her agency ever having three encounters in a 24-hour period.

On Thursday, a pelican landed on a busy San Francisco street, startling passerbys. Even though several people tried to get it to fly away, the pelican would not move or fly.

The pelican was rescued by animal control officers and taken to the Peninsula Humane Society for treatment, which was also treating the pelican that was found on Pacific Avenue Thursday.

"Most of the pelicans that come to us are not found wandering the sidewalks of downtown San Francisco," said Buffy Martin Tarbox of Peninsula Humane Society, "This is a little bit unusual."

Although Berkeley fire fighters also scooped up a wandering pelican in the East Bay this week, local experts say they are not seeing an abnormal number of pelicans in distress as was witnessed in Southern California.

"We don't know if that's the situation here in Northern California yet," said Martin Tarbox. "If so, which we are crossing our finger it's not, then these are just isolated cases."

Should that change, the Peninsula Humane Society says they are ready to offer assistance.


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