Wildlife rescuers are finding more dead or injured pelicans in recent days, deepening a years-old mystery of who is harming the federally-protected animals.
For the second year in a row dead pelicans are turning up on the North Carolina coast, including North Topsail Beach.
Officials say pelicans with injuries similar to those seen last winter are washing up on Onslow Beach and have been reported on another beach along the southeastern North Carolina coast.
The American Bird Conservancy says a second wave of mysterious pelican injuries and deaths has occurred in the past several weeks at Topsail Island following earlier incidents about six months ago in which about 250 pelicans died as a result of still-undetermined causes.
It looks like it's happening once again. More dead and injured pelicans have washed ashore Topsail Beach. Deborah Woody, a volunteer with the Possumwood Acres Wildlife Santuary says in the past two weeks alone, there have been more than 20 dead and injured pelicans found along the beach.
Finally a bird story with a happy ending, but it didn't start out that way. An island is a good spot for a pelican, unless it is the center island on MLK Parkway in Wilmington.
Possumwood Acres Sanctuary volunteers say in the past week the number of birds found has drastically decreased. The volunteers have found several birds suffering from frost bite, which is a natural occurrence during winter.
The Wildlife Resources Commission sent pelicans found on Topsail Beach to the University of Georgia for autopsies to determine their cause of death. Sara Schweitzer from the commission said although the results are not confirmed, early findings show the birds were not killed maliciously by people.
A federal agency is investigating the killings of dozens of pelicans along the North Carolina coast.
More dead pelicans have washed up on Topsail Beach, and investigators still have no idea who is killing them.