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The Observer Paper 12/22/14

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Home arrow Sports arrow Outdoors & Rec arrow A day in the life for a rescue worker

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A day in the life for a rescue worker

Never a dull moment for local animal rescuer

PENDLETON — The ringing of Lynn Tompkins’ cellphone often means her day is about to take a U-turn.

On Monday afternoon, the caller was a young man worried about an injured American white pelican he and his girlfriend spotted along Pendleton’s river walk. Could she come and rescue the bird and take it to her rehabilitation facility? 

Tompkins, the owner of Blue Mountain Wildlife, often picks up sick, injured or orphaned wildlife for rehabilitation. The current guest list includes an electrocuted hawk, a fledgling barn owl that crash-landed while learning to fly, a blind kestrel and a bald eagle with a broken clavicle.

Tompkins, who was away from the facility at the moment, phoned one of her interns to bring nets and headed to the Main Street Bridge, where she eyed the injured pelican hunkered down in some grass below.

When she tried to approach for a better look, however, the bird swam to the opposite riverbank, favoring one of its wings. Tompkins gazed at the pelican and worried aloud.

“When you see a pelican all alone, it usually means something is wrong,” she said.

She said the birds generally travel in large groups, using their large numbers to drive fish to shallow water where the pelicans fill their elastic throat pouches with their wiggly prey.

Her intern, Michigan native McKinley Bell, arrived carrying several nets and wearing some rubber boots. Anthony Jordan Elder, the Pendleton man who had called Tompkins, took one of the nets and the pair waded into the river, approaching the bird from different directions.

For the full story, see Friday's issue of The Observer

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