Update on Pink the mutilated brown pelican

Photo credit: International Bird Rescue

Great news, Pink the brown pelican has fully recovered from a severe mutilated pouch wound! After two operations that lasted a total of six hours and involved hundreds of stitches, it’s almost impossible to see the scar and Pink looks good as new (see photo).

“Over the course of treatment, I’ve seen Pink transform from weak and sad to feisty and voracious,” said International Bird Rescue (IBR) staff veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Duerr, who has performed nearly 100 pelican pouch surgeries in her career. “Despite having the largest pouch laceration I’ve ever seen, he did great during post-operative care and has healed in record time.” (From a press release issued by IBR.)

All credit for this speedy healing process goes to IBR’s amazing staff and generous donors who covered the costs, including $5,000 from the Port of Long Beach. Now Pink is scheduled to be released on June 3rd. He went from being extremely thin and anemic to a “tough ole bird” in only six weeks!

Also, for anyone who read my previous Pink updates, you may have noticed that Pink is referred to as a “he.” I must apologize for making a mistake and identifying Pink as a she in earlier posts, which I’ve corrected. The bird was nicknamed Pink for the temporary leg band he was given at IBR, but somehow I took it one step further and made a gender assumption.

And alas that classic phrase about “assume” exists for a reason. In the future, I will not link bird nicknames with human gender and color associations. One of the interesting outcomes from my mistake is that in trying to verify the bird’s gender with IBR, I discovered that determining a brown pelican’s sex is very difficult with the naked eye and requires DNA testing. Who knew? There’s definitely a story waiting for me there…

Best wishes to Pink, may he have a long and prosperous life off California’s coast free of human harm!

Note: Unfortunately, no one has come forward with information and the $20,000 reward remains unused.

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