Wildlife Resources Commission Investigates Dead, Injured Brown Pelicans

May 8, 2013

Brown pelican
Credit Sergey Yeliseev via Flickr, Creative Commons

State wildlife officials are continuing to investigate the deaths and injuries of brown pelicans along the North Carolina coast.  They say more than 200 of the birds have been found. 

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is leading a coalition of agencies hoping to find out what is happening to the birds.  Sara Schweitzer is a biologist with the commission.  She says they need people who spend time out on the coast to report any irregularities.

"The one thing that we haven't been able to get is eyewitness sighting of an event that occurs," Schweitzer says.  "Most of these calls are coming in from the Topsail Beach area, so North Topsail, Surf City, down to South Topsail Beach.  Every now and then we'll get calls from Oak Island area."

Schweitzer says it's too early to definitively tell if people are hurting the birds. Because pelicans cross state boundaries, causing them harm is a federal violation under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.