Are You Concerned About the Health or Safety of a Wild Bird of Prey or Shorebird?

A couple of Seabrook Island residents were concerned and sent SIB an email on Friday, January 17.

Hi, we have a pelican in our backyard on Seabrook Island that has been here all morning and now afternoon. It is on its stomach. When I approached it to take a picture it quickly got up on its feet and flapped its wings, then as soon as I came inside it went back down on its stomach again. Please let us know what to do. Thank you.


Our SIB Communication team responded by providing the phone number of The Center for Birds of Prey (843-971-7474). As a follow-up, it was a good news story. Here is “the rest of the story…”.

Be sure to see the full instructions on how to report a bird you are concerned for at the end of this story.

We got in touch with Mark from The Center for Birds of Prey. He asked that we send pictures of the bird to help determine if it was in good enough health to be rescued and rehabilitated.

I was able to come from behind the bird so as not to startle it, but it saw me and got up on its feet. That actually helped us understand that it appeared to have nothing physically wrong.

As soon as I went back in the house it laid back down on its belly.

From the pictures, Mark decided it was able to be rescued, so we made arrangements to have someone come out to pick it up.

We noted that every time it got up it had a lot of diarrhea. So, we guessed that it had eaten something bad and was having a bad tummy day and just needed to rest.

Just after making pick up arrangements, we watched as it got back on its feet, spent a few minutes preening and stretching its wings, then made its way to the tidal creek that runs across the back of our yard. It spent time rooting around for food with its feet and slowly made its way along the waterway until we could no longer see it.

We decided it was recovering well enough and called Mark to cancel the rescue.

This whole event ran over a period of about 6 hours. We were glad it had a happy ending.

And clearly, we learned it was not a Pelican as we initially stated, but rather a Wood Stork!

Are you concerned about the health or safety of a wild bird of prey or shorebird on Seabrook Island (or anywhere in the Lowcountry)?

Call the Avian Medical Clinic at 843.971.7474 and press option #1 for the Injured Bird Line. You can also send an email to

We are available to assist with injured birds from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day of the week. If you need assistance after 5:00 p.m., please leave a message and we will contact you first thing the following morning. Always leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Do not handle the bird unless you are confident you can do so without injuring yourself or injuring the bird further. Injured raptors require specialized treatment and care from a Federally-licensed, experienced practitioner.

It is illegal to possess any migratory bird without state and federal permits. However, your temporary assistance is allowed in helping an injured bird reach proper care and doing so ensures its best chance for recovery and return to its natural environment.

If the bird is contained, do not offer food or water to the bird. The bird may not be strong enough to process solid food, even if it appears hungry; feeding could harm or even be fatal to the bird. Having food in its system may also preclude certain medical procedures that the bird may need.

-Submitted by Seabrook Island Birders

(Photo Credit: Seabrook Island Birders)