Agency rescues pelicans that failed to migrate

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January 11, 2010 6:04:18 AM PST
About 40 brown pelicans in southern Maryland didn't get the message when freezing winds started whipping around the Chesapeake Bay.

They stayed behind in St. Mary's County when others flew south for the winter. Now, Maryland's Department of Natural Resources has spent the past week rescuing the starving, freezing birds spotted on a beach near a seafood restaurant.

David Heilmeier, a Natural Resources official, says saving the birds isn't a scientific decision. Instead it's driven by people not wanting to see wildlife suffering and dying.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, 29 birds were rescued and taken to a Delaware bird shelter. Of those, 23 survived and are being treated with warm foot baths to soothe their frostbitten feet.

The birds will be released in the spring.