Terra Ceia residents hope for change as more injured pelicans get stuck in rookery near Skyway Fishing Pier

More and more people near Terra Ceia are trying to rescue pelicans that end up getting stuck, many hanging from a rookery off Manatee County. They believe the birds are flying south from the Skyway Fishing Pier. 

Cages upon cages of injured brown pelicans are filling up the back porch of Beth Weir's home. They are all coming from a small rookery in Miguel Bay, south of the Skyway Fishing Pier. 

Weir, a wildlife rehabilitator, said she's been busier than ever. She said she has 61 birds found with horrible injuries, and she said it's likely about 60 other birds were cut down from the area after dying.

"It's just unceasing, and this is on a daily basis," Weir said.

Residents work together daily to cut down pelicans that are wrapped in fishing line at the rookery that sits off of Terra Ceia. They cut them out from the mangroves and take them to Weir. 

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"Some of them will have extremely heavy weights. Some of them will have really big hooks on them for like shark fishing," said Alicia Dougherty.

Dougherty said while some of the birds are dead, others have nearly amputated wings and severed feet. Rehabbers have worked for years at the Skyway Fishing Pier, where they believe the birds and fishing line come from. 

Dougherty said for the past five years, they have tried to get legislation to prevent birds from dying or getting injured, but nothing has changed. 

"It's a community effort and all we can say is we need more control from the skyway," said Dougherty.

Until that happens, residents of Terra Ceia will continue their mission.

"I'm not going to turn a blind eye when I come out of my canal and know that there’s birds," said Dougherty.

If you find an injured pelican or have supplies to donate toward the injured pelicans contact Beth Weir at bethweir@gmail.com