California’s Brown Pelicans Facing Another Crisis: Public Urged to Keep Distance


If you head to the coast this summer, you may see sick and stranded brown pelicans. The CDFW says that, much like the summer of 2022, another stranding event is occurring.

Recently, the wildlife department has received numerous reports of brown pelicans that appear emaciated, with some showing secondary issues.

The CDFW says the birds have been stranded along the coast from Santa Cruz County south to San Diego County since late April. As reports were received, Central and Southern California wildlife rehabilitation facilities began admitting the unusually high number of sick pelicans.
CDFW is conducting postmortem examinations and testing pelicans admitted to wildlife rehabilitation facilities, with preliminary results indicating that the birds are succumbing to starvation-related problems.

Stranding events have been documented to occur periodically along the California coast in a variety of seabird species. A similar pelican stranding event occurred in spring 2022, with nearly 800 pelicans admitted into wildlife rehabilitation facilities and 394 successfully returning to the wild.

Officials ask the public not to touch, harass, attempt to feed or take photographs with pelicans. Do not attempt to remove any fishing lines or embedded fishing hooks from entangled birds.

CDFW and agency partners will continue to track this stranding event.