Many pelicans are suffering from frostbite on the First Coast.


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The cold weather is affecting pelicans on the First Coast and one rescue group is trying to help the birds.

Cindy Mosling, co-founder of the bird rescue group called B.E.A.K.S., Inc., says the duration of the cold this winter seems to be the culprit. She is seeing more pelicans suffering from frostbite.

Mosling said she has picked up more than a dozen pelicans in the last week -- and that's much more than normal.

Tuesday, Mosling rescued pelicans on Fernandina Beach and off Heckscher Drive near the Dames Point Bridge.

Mosling said she is seeing many more pelicans with frostbite on their feet, beaks and mouths. She hasn't seen this much since 1988.

Frostbite is one concern, as well as the inability to keep the cold water off their bodies.

"We have some birds that have been contaminated. They've experienced a contaminant of some kind. It could be oil or a number of things on their feathers," Mosling explained. "Once they've lost their natural protective coating, the water goes through their bodies, they're soaking wet and they die of hypothermia. They can't regulate body heat."

Mosling said the frostbitten pelicans can survive, but often times only at a bird sanctuary.

First For You – if you see a pelican who is alone or in a place you normally don't see them, Mosling said the bird is often sick. You can call BEAKS, Inc. for someone to help the bird. The number is 904-251-BIRD.