This morning (day 7 of pelican presence) there were 8 dead pelicans on the beach and ~130 congregated around the beach and the creek. Some seemed to be feeding in the creek, some drinking. Others were huddled on the sand with their wings drooping and feathers looking damp. One bird looked like it was literally going to collapse on its feet. One bird just walked up past the house into the garden. This happened two evenings ago; a pelican walked behind the house, investigated the chicken coop (this upset the chickens terribly) then went to sleep behind the house. To avoid potential fox predation, I put it in a box in the basement for the night with some water and a half-dozen sardines I had in the freezer. In the morning it had eaten the fish and I let it go. It seemed relatively fine and made its way back to the beach.
I have contacted several bird rescue and research people about these birds here but no answer yet.
I was watching some pelicans drinking in the lower pool in the creek this morning. When they drink, they put their heads into the water sideways and do a short bite. Some of them were swimming, holding their position against the current and doing short dives into the water. In this case, they were putting their heads in straight and their throat pouches were expanding downward, like they were feeding on the trout in the pool. There were also birds landing somewhere upstream, up the canyon, that were floating downstream and stopping on rocks along the way. I got word that pelicans are doing the same at Willow Creek and Mill Creek. Are they not getting anything to eat in the ocean? Have they switched to feeding on trout in the creeks?