updated 7/9/2004 9:49:11 AM ET 2004-07-09T13:49:11

More than 30 endangered brown pelicans have crashed onto sidewalks and roads in Arizona, mistaking the heat-induced shimmer of the paved surface for lakes and creeks.

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“They try to land on the water, but it’s asphalt and it’s ‘Bam! That doesn’t feel so good,”’ said Sandy Cate, director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s wildlife center at Adobe Mountain in north Phoenix.

During the past two weeks, the injured pelicans have been found from Yuma to Phoenix, the department said Thursday.

The pelicans have been treated mostly for dehydration and emaciation.

Wildlife experts believe the endangered birds are experiencing a food shortage along the West Coast and are heading to Arizona to find fish.

The sun’s reflection, mixed with hot and cool layers of air create mirages, and the birds mistake smooth pavements for water.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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