Injured pelican set to take a plane south for the winter-UPDATE

Dr. Anne Remmers chasing the pelican by the Mississippi River.
Dr. Anne Remmers chasing the pelican by the Mississippi River.

UPDATE: An injured pelican has found its way south for the winter. After its flight was delayed by hurricane Matthew, the pelican has made it to a Florida facility for rehab.

BURLINGTON, Iowa. (KWQC) — An injured pelican has been living in Burlington and getting treatment from a local Veterinarian.

The bird was found with an injured wing Labor Day weekend along the Mississippi River. From there the bird was handed over to Dr Anne Remmers, a Doctor in Veterinarian Medicine.

“after it was evaluated and treated medically then it um stayed with me under medical care because it’s still receiving physical therapy,” said Remmers.

Therapy Remmers hopes will help strengthen the pelicans injured wing

“We’re talking about a wing injury it’s not a fracture but an injury where the elbow and wrist joints when you compare it to a human anatomy, are very stiff,” said Remmers, “I’ve been trying to work through range of motion to extend the wing fully.”

The injury is preventing the bird from continuing to migrate south before winter starts

“Since this is an older injury that is not healing rapidly for us and may not heal we need to find a permanent facility or somebody else that can take over this,” said Remmers.

Dr. Anne Remmers chasing the pelican by the Mississippi River.
Remmers chasing the pelican by the Mississippi River.


After hours of research Remmers found a facility in Florida specializing in caring for pelicans. The group stepped up and offered to pay for the bird to travel to the sunshine state.

Paul Kay, Conservation Officer with the Iowa DNR, helped Remmers decide what to do with the pelican.

“The bird sancutuary down there actually raised some funds to bring it down so we are putting it on a plane in a cargo carrier and flying it nonstop down to southern florida,” said Kay.

While this pelican is receiving proper care, the DNR does not recommend you try to catch any wildlife animals even if they appear harmed.

“If you see an animal injured call your local authorities so we can uh see what’s going on with it,” said Kay.

Remmers and The DNR say they believe the pelican may not have survived if it hadn’t received medical attention. The pelican was scheduled to fly to Florida Thursday, to receive treatment from pelican specialists, but the hurricane has delayed flights.

Remmers is hoping the bird will get on the air plane next week.

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