Spring breakers help local free pelican

Pelican & Edmond Alexander

Edmond Alexander holds up his rescued pelican.

Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 02:54 PM.

A lot of birds visit Edmond and Cynthia Alexander's dock, which juts out into Western Lake. Sometimes they are just resting, but recently one needed a helping hand.

Two weeks ago, Edmond saw a pelican sitting on the dock, where it spent most of the morning. He watched the bird for a bit before trying to get closer. Edmond got about 3 feet from him before the bird attempted to launch, but couldn't and crashed upside down into the water, but not before Edmond saw that one of its wings was bound to his body by a large wad of monofilament, a metal leader and a small weight. He knew there also had to be a hook buried in that mess.

From the dock the bird swam down the lake to the shoreline and rested in the weeds at the edge of the lake.

Edmond tried to crank his small lake boat but couldn't. That afternoon, evening and next day, thunderstorms developed and by the second day the pelican was nowhere to be found.

Over the next couple of weeks, friends helped him look for the bird — but to no avail.

On Monday, Edmond saw a pelican swimming in the cut of the lake, which was open. With binoculars, Edmond determined it was indeed the injured pelican. He attempted to sneak up on him but the bird took off running and flapping into the Gulf, but at noon the pelican returned to the cut.

Edmond went out and recruited the help of some young spring breakers who formed a line into the surf while Edmond walked the pelican toward them. When the bird broke for the water, Edmond dove in and was able to capture him in waist deep water.

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