SMITHFIELD, R.I. (AP) — Bert the pelican has finally found a flight out of the frigid Northeast.
The juvenile brown pelican — likely steered north by high winds — had remained stranded at a Rhode Island wildlife facility due to the 35-day partial federal government shutdown.
Officials at the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island wanted to relocate the bird to its natural, warmer habitat, but were unable to get the federal permits needed to move him to a southern locale.
The Providence Journal reported Sunday that Bert was the guest of Coventry firefighter/paramedic Jonathan Pascua who flies for Pilots N' Paws and generally works with four-legged creatures.
The pelican became a sensation to bird watchers and dock workers, who nicknamed it "Bert".
He was flown to North Carolina on the way to Florida.