January 15 update: The culprit may be weather, according to a story in the NY Times.
Some of BC's readers are undoubtedly on top of this story already, but for those who haven't yet heard: Brown Pelicans out on the Pacific coast have been suffering from a mystery ailment or ailments. As the Los Angeles Times reports, disoriented birds have been found in the middle of California freeways, backyards, even LAX airport, all a long distance from their usual coastal habitat.
As one of the volunteers at the International Bird Rescue Research Center quoted by the Times points out, Brown Pelicans have been hammered over the years. By oil spills. And DDT. And fishing line. And gunshots.
A DC Birding Blog has more on this. One possible culprit, according to the IBRRC is domoic acid, a neurotoxin. But the mystery is far from solved...