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Gov’t shutdown strands pelican, injured owl in Rhode Island

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NARRAGANSETT, R.I. — An out-of-place pelican and an injured owl will likely remain stranded at a Rhode Island wildlife facility until the end of the partial federal government shutdown.

The Providence Journal reports that the juvenile brown pelican — likely steered north by high winds — had become a sensation to bird watchers and dock workers who nicknamed him “Bert.”

The bird was taken to the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island as temperatures dropped, where executive director Kristin Fletcher says they can’t get the needed federal permits to move him to a southern location.

Fletcher says the group also has an owl with a severe eye injury. It had been slotted for transfer to Massachusetts for life-saving surgery, but its travels are also on hold.

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