LONG BEACH (CBS) — A group of pelicans found covered with crude oil off the California coast were expected to make a full recovery on Thursday, officials said.

The Coast Guard said they have been unable to locate the source of oil that spilled on at least four brown pelicans near Santa Barbara.

But as KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports, officials believe a natural oil seepage from underwater deposits — and not an actual spill — is to blame for the mess.

“They just took some feather samples and they’re going to run the samples through a lab to determine the source of the oil,” said seabird rehabilitation specialist June Taylor.

Two of the pelicans flew away before they could be captured, while the two other birds are being cleaned at
the International Bird Rescue facility in San Pedro.

“The prognosis is good…they’re both strong, they just need to be washed,” said Taylor.

Crews deployed to search the Santa Barbara channel did not immediately find any spills from ships or platforms.


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