DIXON – The Dixon Park District is helping out a feathered friend.
A 15-pound pelican with injured wings was sent to Hoo Haven Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center in Durand for a full recovery and release back into the wild.
A fisherman found the bird Thursday below the lower dam in Sterling and contacted the park district, which does some wild animal rescue work.
Greg Hunter, the district’s natural resources director, said burn marks on its wings indicate the bird may have been injured in power lines. The pelican was taken to a veterinarian, who gave it antibiotics for an infection.
Another pelican found at Browns Beach Road outside of Dixon with two broken legs had to be euthanized. Its injuries were too severe and it could not be rehabilitated, said Deb Carey, who carries specialized licenses with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and Illinois Department of Natural Resources to make these determinations.
Hunter encourages residents to contact the park district when encountering animals injured by unnatural causes, such as being hit by a car or getting tangled in power lines.
“We want people to contact us and not take matters into their own hands,” Hunter said. “Our goal is to rehabilitate animals into the wild, and we take them to a place that is specially trained to do that. It’s important that people not try to nurse these animals on their own.”