Pelicans held on suspicion of being drunk

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A pelican

Four pelicans, from Los Angeles, California, are being tested at a Southern California wildlife centre under the suspicion that they may be drunk on sea algae. The concerns were raised after one of the pelicans ran head first into a vehicle.

Three of the pelicans were noticed wandering around the streets of Laguna Beach dazed, and the fourth suffered numerous internal injuries and cuts after its' encounter with the windshield of an oncoming vehicle.

The four seabirds are being tested for the presence of sea algae, which can produce domoic acid poisoning when eaten - causing the dazed, drunken effect in the birds. Assistant Wildlife Director Lisa Birkle has warned the public to stay on the lookout for any birds acting in a disorientated or "drunken" manner.

Domoic acid poisoning is also thought to be behind the cause of a 1961 seabird attack on people and cars in Capitola, California.