California storm strands surprising wildlife in South Lake Tahoe
, SFGATE / March 3, 2023
South Lake Tahoe
wildlife advocate and expert “bear guy” Toogee Sielsch thought he'd seen it all.
Over the last ten years, his neighbors called upon him to rescue anything from raccoons, coyotes and even a wayward pet iguana that he said “had escaped and been on the lam for a month” in the dead heat of summer.
Normally, though, his job is pretty straightforward. “I'm the guy people call to crawl under houses to get bears out,” he told SFGATE, explaining that a few firecrackers go a long way. But he was taken by surprise when a confused pelican crashed into a power line and got lost in his snowy Sierra community on Wednesday.
“I knew that pelican got kind of disoriented in a storm that we had that night because we're right along the Pacific Flyway,” he said. This past week’s blizzard was so brutal, it shuttered every resort
in the Tahoe region and closed all roads leading
The snow would prove to be an obstacle for Sielsch — but as someone who’s manhandled pelicans in the past, he knew what had to be done.
“It was kind of hopping around, jumping up on snow banks. I would step into the snowbank and then we’d be up to our waists in snow,” he continued. “And we kind of chased it back into the street.”
“So we just ran it towards the garage and kind of cornered it and that's where we grabbed it.”
The bird did not appear injured. “It looked pretty darn healthy to me,” Sielsch said. “It just looked a little disoriented.” ........................
It's okay though, the bird is currently living its best life at a local shelter.