This Pelican’s Mouth Was Wired Shut, And a Kind Samaritan Helps Out

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Written by Hannah Crawford

Published: February 6, 2024

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Injured Brown Pelican Resting at Point Reyes National Seashore
Nickolay Stanev/

Birds face all sorts of threats in the wild. The threat of Mother Nature when storms happen, the need to find safe places to make their nests, and the threat of predators looking to hunt them down. However, other dangers are things like manmade materials that trap animals. Let’s see what happens to this pelican in the video above. 

Pelican Sighted in Florida

The short YouTube video shown at the top of this blog post brings us to the sunny state of Florida, where some fishermen see a pelican. The Daily Mail YouTube page caught wind of this amazing rescue and shared it with their 3.81 million subscribers. This channel shares breaking news, world news, entertainment, science, education, and more. 

Fishermen Help Pelican Out 

As the video begins, we see a pelican perched up on a pier dock with his mouth wired shut. We can see the fishing line dangling from his mouth. This is where he most likely panicked, and because of that, the fishing line got tighter around his beak, wiring it shut.

Suddenly, a fisherman who spotted this injured pelican comes to help out. He stands there to watch the bird to see the best way to grab him. 

Of course, one of the greatest fears here is first trying not to hurt the pelican. But, also secondly, he is trying not to hurt himself. According to a guide to rescuing and rehabilitating pelicans and seabirds, “It should be noted that pelicans have very little biting power; the beak is designed to scoop, not bite. At worst, you may receive a scratch on the hand.” 

The fisherman slowly approaches and grabs the bird by the leg and safely places him down, holding his neck and long wings. Another fisherman came to help and safely cut the fishing line off, and they freed the pelican. 

How Big is a Pelican’s Wingspan?

Dalmatian pelican in flight. Pelicans from Kerkini lake, Greece.

Pelicans can fly up to 30 miles per hour.

Pelicans of the family Pelecanidae have eight species. These birds can weigh anywhere from 6-33 pounds. Their typical wingspan can be between 72-138 inches (6-11.5 feet). The largest pelican wingspan on record is the Dalmatian pelican (Pelecanus crispus). This freshwater bird can weigh up to 30 pounds and has a wingspan of 11.5 feet long. 

What Do Pelicans Eat?

Pelicans are omnivorous eaters. They feast on prey such as fish, crabs, turtles, carp, mullet, minnows, insects, small mammals, and even other birds. So, as we can imagine, pelicans need a free range of their beaks to eat. So, it wasn’t just a sad thing happening to this pelican; it was a death sentence. But, lucky for him, this kind of samaritan helped him out. 

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About the Author

Hannah Crawford is a writer at A-Z Animals where she focuses on reptiles, mammals, and locations in Africa. Hannah has been researching and writing about animals and various countries for over eight years. She holds a Bachelors Degree in Communication\Performance Studies from Pensacola Christian College, which she earned in 2015. Hannah is a resident in Florida, and enjoys theatre, poetry, and growing her fish tank.

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