Strong Storm Winds Cause Problems For Pelicans | Urban Wildlife
SOUTH ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, FL- The recent nor’Easter weather impacting the First Coast throughout the duration of the weekend has had the marine life is stirred up. The churning seas and coastal winds are causing massive schools of fingerling mullet to run into the Matanzas Inlet. This massive schooling of baby fish, and the strong consistent wind gusting off the ocean, caused quite a commotion among the marine birds in the Matanzas area Saturday.
Many seagulls and pelicans were in a frenzy trying to feed on the schooling fish, but with the strong storm winds working against them, they were not having the best luck. Some seagulls were caught in the strong storm winds and blown into traffic and were hit by cars. Pelicans tried persistently to perch in the road on the bridge to seek refuge from the gusting strength of the storm winds but were causing commotion in traffic and were in danger of being struck by passing vehicles.
Concerned motorists stopped to try to assist the distraught marine birds and contacted the National Parks Service for assistance with the situation. The witnesses captured a seemingly demobilized pelican and surrendered it to the Park Rangers when they arrived. Many seagulls did not fare as well, as they were hit by passing vehicles and scattered across the bridge.
According to Linda Chandler of the National Parks Service the disoriented pelican would be taken to a shelter where it would be assessed for injuries and released if it had no injuries, or cared for until it was able to be re-released into the wild if it did in fact sustain injuries in the incident.
The witnesses on the bridge said that at one point there were 20- 40 pelicans trying to perch in the road on the bridge causing quite a mess of traffic in already rainy windy conditions. The Park Rangers cleaned the seagull carcasses off the bridge and took the captured pelican to safety.
In the meantime, many more pelicans and seagulls continued in their feeding frenzy regardless of the stormy, windy weather. Thick schools of mullet could be seen schooling from both sides of the bridge on the Matanzas Inlet [ proving irresistible to the hungry birds ] , and the wind ripped across angry churning seas.