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The pelican's wing was trapped in rebar on one of Kiptopeke State Park's concrete ships. Photo courtesy of Wildlife ER.

Trapped Pelican Rescued from Kiptopeke Ship

A pelican with a stuck wing was rescued from Kiptopeke State Park in Cape Charles, Virginia Saturday morning.

The Coast Guard and the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources got reports of a pelican in “obvious distress” on one of the famous World War II Concrete Fleet ships, which now serve as a breakwater at Kiptopeke. The pelican’s wing had become stuck in the rebar of the concrete ship.

Rescuers were able to move the rebar enough to free the bird, and the Coast Guard carefully transferred it into an enclosure to bring it to shore for treatment.

Service members from Coast Guard Station Cape Charles gently transfer the pelican from the concrete ship. Photo courtesy of Wildlife ER.

“It happened pretty quick,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Paul Hurd, officer of the day for Station Cape Charles. “It took about 10 minutes from hopping off the boat to bringing the bird aboard. It had gotten its wing stuck in the rebar of the cement ship, but we were able to bend that back and free it.”

USCG says the pelican is “resting comfortably” after a short surgical procedure. A wildlife rehabilitation specialist, who was on board the rescue boat with the Coast Guard crew, is celebrating the happy ending to this story:

“I can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday than helping save the life of that pelican,” said Jody Sokel, a wildlife rehabilitation specialist with Wildlife ER. She turned 44 on Saturday.