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Pelican News is gathered from around the world from online newspapers, magazines and plain old word of mouth. There's an emphasis on those pelicans in the western US, the California Brown Pelican and the American White Pelican. The purpose is to inform and educate. The hope is also for support for the "Santa Barbara 12".

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April-June, 2004, News about pelicans
Ariz.-Son.Desert Museum 1, 2 | Chase Lake NWR 1, 2 | Missing Pelicans 1, 2-W.Nile | Monterey, white pelicans | Pelican Man's Sanctuary

Pelicans In The Desert Are Fish Out Of Water
By Barbara Grijalva, KOLD News 13 Anchor
Posted: 6/29/04
Arizonans flock to Rocky Point, Mexico, in the spring, and it seems some Rocky Pointers cruise over to Tucson in the summer. But they don't mean to.
The summer winds occasionally bring us the endangered California brown pelican.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is rehabilitating two of the sea birds right now.
They will not be put on display.
The pelicans are getting plenty of smelt and cool showers, but there's no place like home.
The wizards at the Desert Museum will get them to San Diego, and eventually, home.
The Desert Museum's Mary Powell-McConnell says, "They have poor navigational skills. So, they're kind of like Dorothy, winding up in Oz. They get caught up in the updraft and they wind up in the desert."
Powell-McConnell thinks this could be a banner year for pelicans around here, even better than 2002, when pelicans in Tucson set a record.
We got 18 that year.


See also: http://www.kvoa.com/Global/story.asp?S=1978207&nav=HMO6OKWs

The Arizona Daily Star; Published: 06.26.2004
The Pelican Hotel
Birds blown off course find brief refuge at Desert Museum

By Kimberly Matas
http://www.dailystar.com/dailystar/printDS/27640.php - for photos

Though not as romantic as the swallows returning to Capistrano, Tucson has its own annual avian refugee - the gangly, long-beaked pelican.

Summer storms blow the ocean-loving birds off course and they end up sweating it out in the Old Pueblo.

Once captured, they go to the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum for rehabilitation. The first of the season, a California brown pelican, was picked up Sunday.

Mr. P, as he was named by his caregiver, Mary Powell-McConnell, is about a year old. At his age, it is not possible to determine gender, but his keepers have opted to make him a sir, not a ma'am.

"He's a youngster," Powell-McConnell said. "His navigational skills aren't the best. It's like being Dorothy in Kansas, who winds up in Oz."

Most years the museum rehabilitates two or three of the wayward birds, though last year it had a record-breaking 18.

California brown pelicans are an endangered species.

Once mature, they have a large neck pouch used to hold mouthfuls of fish scooped from the ocean. The pouches are used to collect rainwater and as a cooling device, too. Mr. P is so young his pouch isn't fully developed.

Shawnee Riplog-Peterson is curator of mammalogy and ornithology. She was called to rescue Mr. P from a trailer park near East Fort Lowell and North Country Club roads.

"These residents woke up and they had a pelican in their front yard," Riplog-Peterson said. "He was tired and . . . they did a wonderful job of hosing him down and keeping him cool."

She suspects he was blown in on a storm from Mexico.

After a week of rest and meals of smelt, Mr. P is feeling better, Powell-McConnell said, and he's getting cocky - lunging at her for the fish, reveling in his twice-daily showers and taking dips in his pool. He will be ready for an airplane ride to San Diego next month, where he will reside, temporarily, in a Sea World pelican pond before being released.

Pelicans are not on display at the Desert Museum, said Powell-McConnell, because it does not have a habitat for the birds and they have to stay quarantined for at least 30 days. By then, most are ready to fly home.

To report a pelican, call the Arizona Game and Fish Department at 628-5376. Messages can also be left at the Desert Museum, 883-1380, Ext. 313.

* Contact reporter Kimberly Matas at 807-8431 or at kmatas@azstarnet.com.

All content copyright © 1999-2004 AzStarNet, Arizona Daily Star and its wire services and suppliers ....


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Posted on Mon, Jun. 28, 2004
Tracking pelicans gives no clues to why they left
Associated Press
BISMARCK, N.D. - Four of approximately 30,000 white pelicans that left the Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge in south central North Dakota have been tracked, but they took different paths, federal officials say.
The pelicans still are not giving clues to wildlife officials about why they abandoned the refuge last month.
Ken Torkelson, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said Monday that officials from the federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service captured four of the adult pelicans before they left the refuge and attached collars with transmitters to track them.
All four left Chase Lake on June 2, Torkelson said. They took separate paths to South Dakota, western North Dakota or toward Minnesota, he said. One eventually came back near Chase Lake but passed it and flew north, he said.
"It tells me they've scattered," Torkelson said. "We kind of think the 30,000 have scattered, as well."
A couple of hundred "loafers," or pelicans not yet of breeding age, remain at Chase Lake, he said.
The refuge near Medina, spanning about 4,400 acres, had been known as the home of the largest nesting colony of white pelicans in North America. Torkelson said he believes it has not seen the last of them.
"We're fairly confident that they are going to come back next year," he said.


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Last update: June 26, 2004 at 10:32 PM
The mystery of North Dakota's missing white pelicans

Chuck Haga
Star Tribune
Published June 27, 2004
MEDINA, N.D. -- Nobody saw it happen. So far, nobody can explain it.
But in late May and early June, as many as 27,000 white pelicans -- the largest nesting colony of the great, gawky birds on the continent -- abandoned nests, eggs and hatchlings and flew away from Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge in central North Dakota.
A smaller flock of 2,000 birds remained in a separate nesting area a few days longer, but they also abandoned Chase Lake, leaving a vast, heartbreaking litter of unhatched eggs and dead, featherless young.
Biologists and others have advanced many theories -- involving disease, predators, weather, food sources and other factors -- but so far none has been proven.
Nor is it clear where all those pelicans went before heading to the Gulf Coast for winter. But larger than usual numbers of pelicans have been spotted recently on waters near the Canadian border, on the Yellowstone River in eastern Montana and in wildlife refuges in South Dakota and Minnesota.
"From now into July, we'd normally see 40 or 50 white pelicans here," said Wayne Brininger, a biologist at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge near Detroit Lakes, Minn.
The refuge lies about 150 miles from Chase Lake.
"About 10 days ago, we had 600 to 1,000 of them on a couple of lakes, and 1,500 on Flat Lake," he said. "They're spread out, foraging. They aren't nesting."
Brininger said he's had reports of pelicans in numbers on Leech and Cass lakes in addition to the usual nesting colonies on Marsh Lake in the Lac qui Parle Wildlife Area near Appleton and on Lake of the Woods.
Through bandings and radio transmitters, Chase Lake biologists know that the pelican diaspora in northern Minnesota includes some of their birds.
"They went north, south, east and west," said Ken Torkelson, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Bismarck.
What happened?
"We wish we knew," he said.



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Pelicans on Green Bay
By Frank A. Wood
News-Chronicle, June 27, 2004
Pelicans on Green Bay? Inhabiting the Great Lakes? It looks as though it's true.
The first ones were noticed less than 20 years ago, and now there are an estimated 500 pair that frequent the lower bay in summertime. They're big, smart birds that apparently found a rich food source in this area, and are exploiting it.
In the 75 or so years we've lived in the Great Lakes area, we've never before heard of (or seen!) pelicans, thinking they lived exclusively in warmer climes. Cormorants have made a real comeback, and we've had seagulls til hell wouldn't have them, but pelicans?


Missing pelican theories offered: West Nile Virus may be a factor
By Toni Pirkl, The Forum
Published Friday, June 18, 2004

PETTIBONE, N.D. – The number of white pelicans at Chase Lake has dropped to a just few hundred after more than 35,000 of the birds lived in the area just a few years ago, and researchers now think the birds' mysterious disappearance is probably due to a combination of reasons.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials and two researchers from Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center discovered that the last group of white pelicans – about 2,500 of them – were gone from an island in Chase Lake this week. Now, only about 300 adults remain.

The island is one of two at the lake where pelicans nested until the burgeoning population forced creation of a colony on the shore of the lake.
It was there on the peninsula and one of the islands that Chase Lake refuge staff first found the abandoned nests and discovered the disappearance of most of the lake's pelicans a few weeks ago.
Since then, officials have kept an eye on the one place still home to nesting pelicans at Chase Lake but stayed off the island to avoid disturbing the remaining colony.
"They didn't walk it, but the researchers noticed something was wrong Monday. They didn't see any pelicans flying," said Kim Hanson, project leader for the Arrowwood National Wildlife Refuge Complex, which includes Chase Lake Wildlife Refuge. Chase Lake is on the western edge of Stutsman County.
When officials returned to walk the island Wednesday with Mick Erickson, Chase Lake refuge manager, they found it littered with hundreds of young pelican carcasses and an island full of abandoned nests.
"The carcasses were from the newly hatched to 3- and 4-week-olds," Hanson said. "It's similar to what we saw in the colony last year when we lost 50 percent of the chicks due to the West Nile virus."


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06-17-2004: news-local
More pelicans abandon nests
By RICHARD HINTON, Bismarck Tribune
More than 2,000 of the American white pelicans remaining at their nesting site on Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge have pulled out, abandoning chicks and eggs.
Researchers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in Jamestown confirmed the discovery Wednesday, said Kim Hanson, the project leader for the refuge complex that includes Chase Lake and Arrowwood NWRs.
"In the area that they covered, they estimated 300 to 400 chick carcasses and hundreds of abandoned eggs," Hanson said. "There are about 300 adults remaining on the island."
Waterford on Century
The researchers did not cover the entire island, but they did find five live pelican chicks, Hanson said. Whether those chicks were being tended by adults isn't known. Adult pelicans drift away from chicks when they are disturbed, Hanson said.
There were no signs of new adult mortality, he added.


North Dakota, June 10, 2004 — Unexplained disappearance of thousands of white pelicans at the largest nesting colony of American white pelicans in North America

Missing pelicans remain a puzzle
By RICHARD HINTON, Bismarck Tribune
Concrete answers right now are as hard to come by as the location of the thousands of American white pelicans that mysteriously vanished recently from their nesting sites at Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge.
Wildlife biologists and researchers continued to scratch their heads Wednesday as they tried to puzzle together a reason for an estimated 27,000 pelicans to leave their nests and abandon thousands of eggs.
"We're puzzled," acknowledged Mick Erickson, the project manager at the refuge, located about 15 miles north of Medina.
Two theories are emerging: a disturbance by either predators or man or a natural population correction.
No theory, including disease or lack of food, has been discarded.
What is known is that thousands of pelican eggs won't hatch this year. No one is offering a hard number on the toll of juvenile pelicans. ...<http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2004/06/10/news/local/nws02.txt>


And from the Minneapolis Tribune, June 10: ``We are re-evaluating our predator management plan,''

The Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge is the home of the largest known nesting colony of white pelicans in North America. The birds were noticed missing about two weeks ago, said Kim Hanson, refuge manager of the Arrowwood complex, which includes Chase Lake.
``We don't think they were killed. We think they abandoned their nest,'' Hanson said Wednesday.
``We are re-evaluating our predator management plan,'' Hanson said.
``This may be just a normal correction factor - nature taking its course,'' he said.


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June 3, 2004 — White Pelicans Move to Monterey Bay

Herald Staff Writer
Like many visitors to the Monterey Bay, they flew in for a brief sojourn and decided it was just too nice to leave.
The food's good, the social scene's happening and, heck, you can't beat the view, so they're staying, at least until natural instincts pull them away.
After surprising bird watchers when they showed up a few summers ago, a flock of American white pelicans has moved into the neighborhood of Moss Landing and the Salinas River.
Unlike its cousin the brown pelican, the stark white Pelecanus erythrorhynchos is more typical to interior freshwater locales. They breed on lakes in far northeastern California and are known to winter in the Central Valley and on Lake San Antonio.
But somewhere along the line, some of the younger birds, who are too young to mate, found their way to the coast. On Aug. 25, 2001, according to a Web site operated by Peninsula bird expert Don Roberson, a flock of the birds was photographed for the first time feeding in Moss Landing Harbor.
Apparently, they never left. Short of banding the birds and tracking them, there's no way of determining if the individual birds are the same, said Roberson, a Monterey Peninsula Audubon Society board member, but "it seems to make sense."
And others have found their way here as well. At times, Roberson said, they've been seen in a flock numbering as many as 120 birds. At other times, they break into splinter flocks.
Schiedt, of the Department of Fish and Game, said the birds are so large that scientists have begun to study them with radio telemetry and have determined they ride thermal streams like turkey vultures, descending from the Sierra into the Central Valley and returning to feed their young, all in one day.
After a dangerous decline in their numbers in the 1960s and '70s, due to conversion of their wetland habitats into agricultural fields, white pelican populations have rebounded dramatically in recent years, Roberson said, which is evidenced by their presence on Monterey Bay.
"As the overall population in the West has increased in the last years, ours have, too," he said. "It shows the overall population is doing better than it used to."
Nevertheless, they remain on Fish and Game's list of "first priority species of special concern," in large part because of ongoing water strife in their breeding grounds in Northern California, Roberson said.

Virginia Hennessey can be reached at 646-4355 or vhennessey@montereyherald.com.
© 2004 Monterey County Herald and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

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The Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary is back in operation

Clinic licensed again
The Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary has taken an important step toward correcting past mistakes that fueled allegations of mismanagement and animal abuse.
Last Friday, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation visited the PMBS clinic.
"We passed inspections on the clinic and hospital with flying colors and we have our permanent veterinary site permit," PMBS Executive Director Todd Watson said. "It's been part of the process of moving forward."
Former PMBS Executive Director Mona Schonbrunn was cited earlier for not having a veterinary premises permit.


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Pelican man's Bird Sanctuary Shut Down
Sanctuary can't treat birds
Article published Apr 16, 2004
Pelican Man's seeks veterinarians for injured birds after the state closes down the hospital.
SARASOTA -- The state has shut down the animal hospital at the Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary, which has operated without a medical permit since it opened 15 years ago.
The state also accused a Pelican Man staff member, Mel Beall, 45, of performing surgery and amputations at the sanctuary without a veterinary license, a violation that carries a fine of up to $5,000.
The trouble comes amid a difficult year for the well-known Sarasota organization.
A handful of former employees sued last month, saying they were fired in retaliation for complaining about mismanagement and animal cruelty. Three of the sanctuary's nine board members resigned.
Thursday was the first day on the job for the new executive director, Todd Watson, who says that closing the hospital for a while might be a good thing.
"We're going to use this time to catch our breath," he said. "This will give us time to really audit the hospital."
The sanctuary will apply for a permit from the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Watson said, but he's not sure how long that will take.The sanctuary, 1708 Ken Thompson Parkway, will stay open to visitors.
Its two dozen employees and 300 volunteers are looking for veterinarians who can care for the 10 to 20 injured birds and animals delivered there every day.
"We're still rescuing animals," Watson said.
"We'll still endeavor to get any animal that's brought here to a doctor."


The sanctuary was started by Dale Shields, who found a wounded brown pelican and nursed it back to health in his bathtub in 1981.
Work on the Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary started in 1989 on two acres donated by the city.
The sanctuary's operating expenses are now about $780,000 a year.
"We've got a great story to tell, and certainly nothing to hide," Watson said.
"Our doors are open. I'm willing to give a guided tour to anyone who has any questions."


The Mission Statement of the Sanctuary:
To help wildlife in distress, to get wildlife well and back into the wild, to provide care for permanently disabled birds, and to educate the public about wildlife and our environment.

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