PORT ISABEL, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The weather is affecting more than just the beaches and roads. Pelicans along Highway 48 between Brownsville and Port Isabel are at risk of being killed.
Justin LeClair, a biologist, said as pelicans fly toward the Bahia Grande to roost for the night, the strong winds over the highway’s barrier force them to the ground.
This causes some to get hit by vehicles driving down the 70-mile-per-hour road.
LeClaire said he has been helping rescue the grounded pelicans for about seven years with the help of the community.
“Thankfully we’ve got some really good law enforcement support because this is a bad day,” LeClaire said. “This is one of the worst that we’ve had out here. So, we expect a lot of pelicans tonight.”
LeClaire said Texas DPS, Port Isabel Fire Department, and Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife Game Wardens all assisted on Saturday night’s rescue efforts.
He said over 100 pelicans were affected by the weather and at least 15 did not survive.
In addition to the pelicans, one osprey was rescued.
“We’ll be watching the weather and any more cold fronts that come, we’ll be coming back out to make sure pelicans get across safely,”LeClaire told ValleyCentral.
LeClaire said Saturday night ties as their second largest number of downed birds.