Most of these birds are young, only 4-5 months old. Fresh from nesting grounds where their parents were feeding them, they use sheltered coves and harbors to learn to dive for food before they are able to live as adults fishing the wild ocean. Current fishing infrastructure at many Northern California fishing stations make these learning grounds hazardous. Discharge pipes expel fish waste into these protected waters, which these young birds see as an easy meal. Fish waste, like any oil, disrupts the waterproof structure of these birds' feathers, making them vulnerable to the cold water of the North Pacific. Forced from the water and unable to fish naturally, fish oiled pelicans will die if not rescued.
Once contaminated, these iconic coastal birds must be cleaned and rehabilitated - a labor intensive process that each bird must pass through. After cleaning, time is needed for the birds to condition feathers and regain strength. After weeks of professional care, these birds are ready to be released back into the wild. This is an enormous task. These young pelicans consume 500 pounds of fish each day. We estimate that each bird's care will average [phone redacted] dollars. There is nothing easy about our work, but we must help them return to their wild lives. With your help we will succeed.
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