Ten brown pelicans waddled out of their cages and into the surf of the Pacific ocean, slowly stretching their wings and taking flight.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the once oil-covered pelicans were released Friday after three weeks of cleaning and care by a team of scientists in Los Angeles.
The birds were among hundreds of animals damaged last month when a pipe owned by Plains All American Pipeline ruptured and spilled more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil along the Santa Barbara County coast.
The first creatures to be released after treatment, the pelicans are leading a flock of more than 100 rescued birds and mammals who will return to the wild in coming weeks.
Five of them were equipped with small solar-powered satellite trackers.