This is day three of having pelicans circling over the mouth of Big Creek and resting on the beach. Two days ago I counted about 53 pelicans. This morning, there were at least 120. The were flying up the canyon, landing in the bushes, in the road and in the ceonothus. They were landing in the creek and floating down to the beach. Some were getting hung up in branches. One bird has gotten tangled up in some willows and drowned. However, apart from one bird with a skin injury and the one that was tangled, the birds seem to be resting comfortably. I can’t determine from a distance if they are weak or starving.
Below are some links that discuss what might be going on. Explanations range from crowded southern breeding sites, to following northerly El Nino-driven food sources, to being oiled by coastal runoff pollution and soaked by the multiple storms over the past week.
International Bird Rescue Research Center has an article about pelican troubles with specific attention paid to greasy coastal runoff affecting their feather insulation.
An article about pelicans being in Oregon, late for this time of year.
Wildlife Rescue, a non-profit dedicated to rescuing troubled wildlife. Search for their pelican entries