Pelican rescued at Forest Park Grand Basin

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – If one fish or two fish won't work to lure an injured bird to safety then you better call in the experts at the World Bird Sanctuary.

'He's not injured enough where it's going to be easy to catch him,' says Walter Crawford, World Bird Sanctuary Founder.  'But he`s injured enough where he can't survive long term.'

For the last few days this pelican has been parked in the grand basin in Forest Park.

But Wednesday afternoon the World Bird Rescue was nothing new for this group built on saving those who take flight.

'People don't realize we have 250,000 pelicans come through here every fall and spring,' says Crawford.

'Through St. Louis?' asks Patrick Clark.

'They're on their way up or down on the Mississippi River,' says Crawford.

It's unclear how this big bird became injured. But these fine feathered friends came up with a better strategy and a canoe to capture the wayward pelican.

'One of the ones we got last year came from Texas, banded as a baby and they have long life span around 20 to 25 years if they don't run into problems,' says Crawford.

Pelicans sometime have problems with utility lines and guide wires around radio towers.

While this pelican could fly short distances, his odds on his own weren't good without some expert help.

'They start to self mutilate trying to fix themselves,' says Joe Hoffman, Sanctuary Manager.  'He's saying, 'Why won't you work to his wing?'  So that`s why the feather damage might be there.'

With some perseverance and a boat to get near the big beaked bird, it was nothing but net that finally landed their catch.

'As he flew over our head as were assessing the situation everybody kept saying,

'We're never going to get him.'  I said, 'Sure we are,'' says Hoffman.

The pelican's next stop will be some much-needed R & R at the World Bird Sanctuary.

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