Pelican Blown Off Course Calls NC Home

Mar 9, 2011

A brown pelican that ended up in Canada after after being blown off course by Hurricane Earl has arrived in North Carolina. A wildlife organization in Nova Scotia nursed the injured seabird after it was found there last September. The species' natural habitat generally extends from the coast of northern Virginia to Peru. The pelican, nicknamed Ralph, arrived at the Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter in Newport this morning after he was deemed healthy enough to travel. 

Clinic supervisor Maria Rush says the first step in Ralph's rehabilitation is reintroducing him to his own kind.

"Being that it was raised by pelicans, this pelican is not imprinted, but he's become somewhat humanized because they've had him in their care for six months. And we just feel that when he's reacquainted with pelicans that he'll hopefully remember that he is indeed a pelican and he'll make some new friends."

Rush says it's hard to tell how long it will take Ralph to recuperate. Officials want Ralph to eat on his own before he re-enters the wild.