Video: Gloucester deputies rescue pelican in traffic on the Coleman Bridge

(Screenshots via WAVY viewer video)

GLOUCESTER COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — Gloucester deputies rescued a pelican in the midst of traffic on the Coleman Bridge Tuesday morning.

According to VDOT officials, a toll facility director says bridge workers noticed a pelican in the middle of traffic. They were worried the bird might get hit by a car, so they called the Gloucester County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies Sean Coffey and Nelson Groom responded around 7 a.m.

Video from WAVY viewer Carrie Bailess shows the pelican flapping its wings, zig zagging away from Deputy Coffey and eventually flopping onto the ground. It never managed to get more than a few feet off the ground each time it tried to fly.

Capt. John Schick, Jr. with the sheriff’s office says Coffey and Groom used a patrolman’s raincoat to cover the bird. They were able to bring the pelican out of the gusting winds.

Schick says the deputies didn’t think the bird looked injured, just tired from flying in the harsh wind.

The deputies set it down on the southbound side of Route 17, behind the jersey wall. Schick says the bird — both scared and exhausted — tried to fly again, and ended up back in traffic. After the pelican was rescued a second time, it perched itself up on the jersey wall. Schick says it rested there and nodded in thanks to his rescuers.

Deputies Coffey and Groom watched the bird for a while and left it for about 30 minutes. By the time they came back, the bird was gone.