Spring breakers help local free pelican

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

"I saw him catch a lot of fish besides the big cigar minnows that I pitched to him early in the morning. He looked healthy and seemed content swimming around the shoreline," he said.

Later that day as he worked on his boat engine, Edmond saw the pelican swimming down the shoreline and went to the house to get some more minnows. By the time he got back to the dock the pelican was at his dock. He spooked again but this time he jumped from the lake surface with wings flapping and became airborne and flew and glided to the other side of the lake.

"I was thrilled and it brought a tear to my eye. Those hooks I pulled from his upper wing were truly dreadful. When I pulled them I wondered how long it would restrict his flying. The feathers will still need a bit of mending before he will be able to join his buddies gliding with the wind down the beach, but now I know that he will be able to fly. I had worried about him being lake locked when the weather warms and the alligators are back looking for easy targets," he said.

The Alexanders have lived in South Walton since 1987 and this is not Edmond's first rescue operation.

A few years ago a buzzard came into his backyard with a busted wing. The buzzard stayed with the Alexanders from December through August that year, dining on the Alexanders' fish, and then chicken breasts, which they fed him on white paper plates. 

"He was so smart; he would tap on the window for us to feed him, but he never got closer than 10 feet," said Edmond. "He began flying off and coming back. One day he came back and I put down about half the amount of chicken that he was accustomed to getting. He ate that, then picked up his plate and laid it down at the base of the door. I went into the house and got more, put it down on the porch, and the cats went for it. Buz came walking up and put out his wing to keep the cats back so he could have his meal."

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