John rescue white pelican

We are so fortunate to see spectacular WHITE PELICANS when they migrate to SouthWest Florida every year in the fall. Unfortunately, we found one injured or sick WHITE PELICAN while boating around the Out Islands of Sanibel and Captiva yesterday on New Year’s Day. Clark found him washed up to the shore line and saw he wasn’t even strong enough to flap his wings.

injured white pelican

Poor thing! But our friend John completely took charge and checked the bird for visible injuries or obstructions like fishing line caught in his feet or wings. You can see just how big this bird is while John inspects his wing. White Pelicans have an average wingspan of 10 feet.

john checking pelican wing

We could not see any physical injuries to his wings, neck or feet so we called Sanibel’s CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation Of Wildlife) to see if they could help. CROW First Responder Gareth wanted us to bring the bird (we named him “Whitey” by this time) in to see if they could help save him. So the rescue began… John held Whitey safely in his arms to get him back to the boat.

white pelican rescue

We wrapped a towel over the Whitey’s head and back to keep him calm and safe so Captain Clark could drive the “rescue” boat to a dock in Captiva…

pelican rescue boat ambulance

It was nice to have CROW volunteers meet us at the dock to bring a large cage to safely carry Whitey the rest of the way in my car to the clinic on Sanibel…

crow volunteers

Jane (John’s wife) and I admitted Whitey to CROW as their 4th patient of the new year where they took him immediately to the exam room to give him fluids and meds to stabilize him.

Crow surgery room Sanibel

We really don’t know for sure what made him sick or if he was just an old guy (or girl… we really dont know that either). All we know is that we tried to save him and John was the hero. On the boat ride back to the dock, we sang the song “Johnny Angel” to John and changed some of the words to “Johnny Rescue”. :)

injured sick white pelican

 Mother Nature will now decide his fate while the compassionate caregivers at CROW do their best to help him. I am so thankful he was only one out of the hundreds of healthy and stunning WHITE PELICANS we saw flocking around our islands yesterday who come back every year. They are a sight to behold!

white pelicans captiva florida