Exhausted to the point of collapse and coated in oil, the suffering pelican climbed the bank of Ourimbah Creek to the safety of a suburban backyard. At a glance it looked like the adult bird was dead, but once residents of the property got a closer look, they saw that he was still breathing – just.

“We had to do something, we couldn’t just let him suffer; so, we called Seabird Rescue.”

Once Seabird Rescue were contacted, they responded immediately, and the oil-coated pelican, now known as Simon the Brave, was taken into care.

“Initially we thought Simon had botulism [a paralytic disease brought on by neurotoxins] but after further investigation we realised that that wasn’t the case.” Cathy Gilmore from Seabird Rescue told us.

Simon was initially treated for shock and dehydration. He was then cleaned. Simon’s carers were deeply saddened at the sight of such a majestic creature, who although in a life-threatening state, franticly tried to preen the thick oil from his body. Once Simon was stable, he was treated with antibiotics and parasitic medications.

The days following were touch and go for Simon the Brave, but thanks to the ongoing care of committed volunteers and Veterinary staff, Simon’s condition improved. However, before the beloved bird could be released, he required blood testing to ensure that any toxicity he had endured had not damaged his liver, and also that all infection had gone.

Last week, Simon visited Erina Heights Veterinary Hospital for his final check up and blood test. After a thorough examination, Dr Melissa Kozaruk drew blood from Simon’s pouch, and the sample was then sent off to an avian pathology laboratory.

“We all fell a little in love with Simon, so the entire team was anxiously awaiting the results of his blood tests.” Dr Melissa said.

Thankfully, Simon’s tests came back all clear. And a few days later he was released back into the wild. Dr Melissa is confident that Simon the Brave will live a long and healthy life providing he is able to keep clear of toxins in the water and rubbish hazards.