Stowaway Pelican From Maryland Makes Port Call In Tampa

Thursday, December 27, 2012

An injured pelican that landed on a cruise ship was being treated at BluePearl Veterinary Partners specialty and emergency hospital in Tampa on Thursday.

According to the Hillsborough County Animal Services officer that brought the injured pelican to BluePearl’s Tampa location, the pelican injured itself by flying into part of the ship’s superstructure after it had landed on the ship.

Doctors from BluePearl Veterinary Partners avian and exotics medicine team are treating the bird for dehydration and after a physical examination determined the bird has a minor wing injury that will require rehabilitation.


According to the U.S. Geological Survey Bird Banding Laboratory, the bird was originally banded in Holland Island, Md., on Sept. 7.

The Coast Guard said the only cruise ship to arrive at the Port of Tampa on Thursday was Royal Caribbean International’s Jewel of the Seas.

According to Royal Caribbean International, the pelican landed on deck 12 of the port-side of Jewel of the Seas shortly after 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The ship was returning to its seasonal homeport of Tampa after calling at Cozumel, Mexico, on Tuesday. Royal Caribbean International staff transferred the injured bird to Hillsborough County Animal Services during a port call in Tampa, Thursday at approximately 10 a.m.

The pelican is scheduled to be transferred to the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary Friday where the bird will receive rehabilitation treatment.

Officials said BluePearl’s avian and exotic medicine team is highly-regarded and trusted to see birds, reptiles and wildlife from Busch Gardens, the Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo, and Nature’s Classroom.


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