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John James Audubon
The plight of the pelican
The plight of the pelican

Over the last several months, a young brown pelican's obsessive preening regimen has dominated the view from my office window at the Northern California wildlife hospital where I work. We don't name the patients we care for — if animals could talk, I imagine the first thing they'd express is their dislike of anthropomorphism. But I can't stop thinking of him as Red, because of the colored temporary band on his right leg. Red's the closest thing I've had to a cubicle mate. He came to us in September with a severe injury to his left patagium (a fold of skin on the leading edge of the wing) caused by an embedded fishing hook. Stretching his wings out, Red...

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