"Pacific Coast Pelican Illness Linked To Bad Weather, Scarce Food"

"The mysterious pelican malady that left hundreds of the birds sick and stranded along the Oregon and California coasts this winter was probably caused by a combination of bad weather and fish shortages related to El Nino, state Fish and Game officials said Monday.

After ruling out such potential causes as disease or marine toxins, a group of scientists from state and federal agencies, nonprofit groups and Sea World in San Diego concluded that a simple scarcity of pelican prey, such as anchovies and sardines, probably combined with winter storms to produce flocks of hungry, wet, soiled pelicans, dying on beaches or looking for handouts. "

Jill Leovy reports for the Greenspace blog in Los Angeles Times February 22, 2010.

Source: LA Times, 02/23/2010