For the past month, we have had a pelican living in the greenhouse here at TreeHouse.  Today, we brought it to its new home at the St. Louis Zoo.

The keepers take the crate holding the pelican into one of the buildings where birds are housed so that they can take the bird's weight.

All new animals joining the zoo’s collection spend a mandatory 30 days in quarantine to ensure that they aren’t carrying any parasites or infectious diseases that could spread to the other animals.  The zoo is currently renovating its hospital building, so instead of going to the normal quarantine facility, our pelican will be spending its 30 days in a holding cage near the nursery.  It has a pool to swim in, and it can look through the bars at its next-door neighbor, another pelican that was rescued from Portage Des Sioux by the World Bird Sanctuary.  That pelican also arrived at the zoo today, so assuming neither bird has to spend additional time in quarantine (as a result, for example, of a fecal sample coming back with worms), both will join the flock at the same time.

We say goodbye to our pelican at its quarantine holding cage.

The zoo’s flock of American white pelicans currently consists of about 15 birds, all of which are rescues like ours.  In fact, two of them were brought to the zoo by TreeHouse in the past.  According to the keeper who checked in the pelican and showed us around, having such a large flock makes it very easy to introduce new birds.  Often, when a small number of animals are together for a long time, they will bully and exclude any new animal that is introduced.  But with a group of this size, a new addition will almost always fit in somewhere.

The flock cruises around the island where it nests.

So, next time you’re at the St. Louis Zoo, check out the pelican flock.  They nest on an island next to the Lakeside Cafe.  One of them will be the pelican we rescued from Riverlands in February.