09 January 2009

Cloudy with a Chance of Pelicans

Just when I thought the headlines couldn't get much stranger, I come across an article in the Seattle Times that reads, "Pelicans fall out of sky from Mexico to Ore." Apparently something is making the pelicans on the west coast sicken and die. They have fallen from the skies onto cars and boats. They are huddling together in people's yards and in parking lots, as much as five miles inland. The birds that venture too close to the road in their disorientation are getting struck by cars.

A major bird rescue operation is underway, but rescuers don't really know what they are dealing with at this time. They don't know if it's a virus or if birds are being poisoned from an unknown source. Some cite possible poisoning from contaminants that washed into the ocean after the latest round of wildfires. But nobody really knows for sure. Some of the birds have swollen feet. There are clues, but so far they aren't adding up to any obvious conclusions.

So far the state of Washington and the northern part of Oregon hasn't been affected, or maybe we have but we've had our hands so full with rogue snow storms and widespread flooding that we haven't yet noticed the plague of pelicans that has beleagured our neighbors to the south of us. I've never heard of a plague of pelicans before, but it is both widespread and statistically significant. Hundreds of dead or already sickened birds have been rescued or recovered. Hopefully someone will figure out what is happening so we can help them. Pelicans falling from the sky is a noticeable call to action.

The whole thing would be terribly funny if it weren't so tragic. They're asking for help. They may even be acting as canaries to warn us of toxins in the sea that will affect all of us somewhere down the line. Whatever is happening, they've gotten my attention, and now, hopefully, they've gotten yours as well.

Lest you doubt my sanity, I've included a link to the original article.


No comments:

Post a Comment