Tim, our first ambassador, arrived at the shelter in September 2009 from Holden Beach. He was rescued just two months after he was banded on a Cape Fear River nesting island in July 2009. He was totally entangled in monofilament fishing line that dug into the skin on his leg and wing. Both were badly infected, and the leg eventually healed but the wing was more difficult. At the requisite 180 day mark for rehabilitation, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service granted us another three months to get his wing to full extension with daily physical therapy. At the end of that effort, it was clear that he would never have a perfect wing.
We applied for and received an education permit in the summer of 2010 and, in addition to his education work, now Tim earns his living by teaching the new pelican patients how to behave, eat dead fish presented to them, and go into the smaller heated pen on cold nights. By the time he was four years of age, he had over 50 public appearances and had taught over 30 pelicans how to behave at the hospital.
Since he is a large, fish-eating bird, indoor programs usually aren’t desired for Tim. His first program appearances were at the NC Aquarium at Ft. Fisher, delighting summer camp children outside. Since then he has been attending Earth Day celebrations, yacht club meetings, and local coastal and maritime museum events. He is the star of our open houses and home school, Boy Scout and Girl Scout on-site programs.