When the kind people in the village of Kokkrebelluru in south India took a look at the two fledgling young birds who had fallen from their home in the trees, they knew right away that serious help was needed. It wasn’t going to be enough to just feed them and take care of them until they recovered. The right wing of each of the little birds was drooping, had broken in their fall, and just wasn’t going to get better by itself.

Soon they were able to organize a car to take the fledglings on the two-hour drive to the Bannerghatta Rehabilitation Centre, the WRRC, near Bangalore, for some expert veterinary care.

When they arrived, the little ones were looking tired and not too well. Falling from one’s home is traumatic – after all, it is losing one’s home and one’s family, plus sustaining an injury. And the road during parts of the drive was a bit bumpy too.

One of the spot-billed pelicans was a bit bigger than the other and had fallen earlier, he weighed 10 pounds (5 kilos). The smaller one weighed 6 pounds (2.89 kilos). Dr. Roopa Satish gave them pain killers, antibiotics, and fluids to rehydrate them, along with some antibiotics and anti-parasite treatment. Their wings were bandaged so that they would heal in the correct position.

Looking a bit brighter

By the next morning, they looked quite a lot brighter and were able to hold their heads up and look around. At first they were handfed, then after a week when they were a bit stronger, they began to eat on their own. Thanks to the doctor’s expertise, the kindness of their rescuers, and the excellent care given by the WRRC caregivers, they were soon full of energy again. They enjoyed their stay at WRRC where they gained a lot of strength and had time for their wings to heal.

They were in a big aviary, but it wasn’t quite big enough to practice flying, since pelicans are huge birds. After three weeks, their wings were unwrapped, and they began to use them again – at first just running and flapping. Day by day, they grew stronger, but they needed a place big enough to regain their full flying strength.

Getting ready for life back in the wild

It’s really essential that birds being rehabilitated be able to get enough exercise to fly perfectly. Life in the wild can be tough; flying requires a huge level of energy, and a bird has to be in perfect shape to be able to find food, escape predators, and be able to migrate. Because spot-billed pelicans are very large birds, the very best way for these two birds to get the exercise needed would be for them to go back to Kokkrebelluru village. There they’d be among other pelicans and would have room to stretch their wings, gain strength, and fly up into trees.

Kokkrebelluru isn’t just any village; it’s a very special village, in the Indian state of Karnataka, where the people have a remarkable affinity for the birds. The village is known for many miles around for the special relationship that the people have with the both storks and pelicans. The people care for them, make sure they are safe, and even sing songs to them to welcome them back after their migration.

So, the two fledgling pelicans were given a ride back to Kokkrebelluru to rejoin their flock and to spend some time gaining very strong flight skills. Thanks to expert care, they’ll be able to spend their lives in freedom back in the wild again.

The WRRC is licensed to rehabilitate wild birds and other wildlife. Whatever country you live in, if you should ever come across an injured or orphaned wild bird, you can get help for the bird by contacting a center that does wildlife rehabilitation; they will know how to care for the bird.

© Forest Voices of India, 2020

Forest Voices of India
– conducts charitable fundraising services for environmental charities, especially in India.

WRRC – The Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre,
Bangalore, India
– is licensed to treat and release back to the wild – birds, deer, monkeys, and other orphaned or injured wildlife.
– provides education and greater understanding that benefits forests, wildlife, and wildlife habitat.

How you can help

Click on the donate button and choose WRRC. Another great way to help is to send this link to a friend.
Bless you! Thank you for helping our wild friends!

Photo credits:

These two photos are different spot-billed pelicans in India, not the same birds as those that were rehabilitated at WRRC.

First photo:Photo 177523154 © Wirestock | Dreamstime.com

Second photo:Photo 139463471 © Venkatajalandar A S | Dreamstime.com

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