TAVERNIER (CBSMiami) – Dozens of young pelicans in the Florida Keys have been found starving and The Florida Keys Wild Bird Center has stepped in to help.

According to wildlife rehabilitator Amanda Margraves, the bird sanctuary, which is located in Tavernier, has seen a large influx of pelicans which are very thin and weak.

“We’re seeing at least double the amount of pelicans than normal this time of year,” Margraves told CBSMiami.com. “They’re all juveniles, very young coming in very emaciated.”

There is no official reason why the birds are starving but there is a theory.

“We think it has to do with the lack of food in Florida Bay,” said Margraves.  She explained that fishermen have been complaining recently that there’s a lack of food such as bait fish and other small fish that pelicans feed on.

“We get a lot of calls about the birds, a lot of local marinas call about birds beaching themselves, things like that,” explained Margraves.

Once the hungry brown pelicans arrive at the center, they are warmed up and fed.  The birds, only about a year old, usually stay for a couple of weeks to be fattened up before being released back into the wild.

The Florida Keys Wild Bird Center currently has taken in 20 young pelicans since January 1st and currently has 25 on its property.

Due to the high number of birds, the center is in desperate need of towels, laundry detergent, bleach and heat lamps.

If you’d like to donate or volunteer, click here for the website.

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