The general public in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties have noticed a change in wildlife behavior over the past few months as well, observing scores of pelagic birds, which normally stay in the water, beaching themselves. Pelagic birds typically land on beaches only if they are injured, ill, or severely malnourished. Research has confirmed that the current increased incidence of beached marine mammals and seabirds in Santa Barbara and Ventura is due to domoic acid poisoning.
In April, the SBWCN began to receive calls regarding pelicans exhibiting signs of neurological disfunction associated with domoic acid poisoning such as confusion, lethargy, seizures, head-bobbing or weaving, and foaming at the mouth. In total, the SBWCN has received 93 pelicans since the beginning of the year.