Pelican, gull freed from beer can collars are recovering
March 7, 2013 -- Updated 1530 GMT (2330 HKT)
This herring gull was one of two birds found by a rescue group with beer cans shoved over their heads.
- Rescue official says she has rescued birds from danger before, "but never this"
- Someone had cut both ends off beer cans and forced them over birds' heads like collars
- Pelican also had signs of avian botulism; gull was emaciated and needed fresh fish soup
(CNN) -- Maya Totman says she's never seen anything like this before: birds with beer cans forced over their heads.
"This is sickening," she said. "We are here to help the wildlife and this is what you do."
Totman, who heads Florida Keys Wildlife Rescue Inc., received a call Monday about two injured birds on Big Pine Key, about 30 miles east of Key West.
When she arrived, she found a semi-paralyzed brown pelican and a weak, emaciated herring gull. Each bird had a Busch beer can around its neck like a collar.
Someone had cut the ends of the cans and forced them over the birds' heads, around their necks.
"They were gasping for breath," Totman said. "They wouldn't have survived another day or two."
A rescue official said the birds were "gasping for breath."
The cans were immediately cut off. The pelican had symptoms of avian botulism and needed fluid to flush toxins from its system. The gull needed fluids as well, along with a helping of fresh fish soup.
Totman said the birds are doing beautifully and should be released back into the wild soon.
"We come across birds stuck in nets, bottles, fishing line and with hooks in them, but never this," said Totman, who has been working in the Keys since 1993.
Totman said she believes at least two people were involved, one to hold down the bird and another to put the can around its neck.
"No way one person can do this," she said.
Who did it? So far, there are no leads, but Totman said the area crime watch was notified and is keeping an eye out.
The birds were found a day after an osprey was found shot with BB gun pellets in the same area. The osprey was not seriously injured.
Survival of injured baby golden eagle called 'amazing'
Part of complete coverage on
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 1704 GMT (0104 HKT)
Google's acquisition of a military robot maker prompts Douglas Rushkoff to ask how the deal fits the company's value of "don't be evil."
After their leader Kim Jong Un had his own uncle executed, how do ordinary North Koreans feel?
December 21, 2013 -- Updated 1708 GMT (0108 HKT)
Despite wanting to be a great power, India often fails to behave like one, writes Jeremy Carl.
December 21, 2013 -- Updated 0035 GMT (0835 HKT)
What scope do western governments have to influence change for the better?
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
Extremist attacks of the kind that claimed the life of UK soldier Lee Rigby do not come out of thin air, analysts say.
December 20, 2013 -- Updated 1814 GMT (0214 HKT)
From tycoon bankruptcies to billion-dollar takeovers, 2013 has been a roller coaster year.
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
Which has been the craziest year in travel history? It just could be 2013.
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 1216 GMT (2016 HKT)
Kickstarter is one of the world's largest crowdfunding websites -- over 53,000 projects have been born.
December 21, 2013 -- Updated 1719 GMT (0119 HKT)
Browse through images you don't always see in news reports, taken by CNN teams all around the world.
December 20, 2013 -- Updated 1525 GMT (2325 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember. Look back at the photographs that chronicled 2013.
December 21, 2013 -- Updated 0910 GMT (1710 HKT)
Never mind the baubles -- one of these Christmas trees is made of macaroons.
December 19, 2013 -- Updated 1203 GMT (2003 HKT)
What do you need to map a billion stars? A billion-pixel camera certainly helps.
Today's five most popular stories