April, May 2005
Scovill Zoo updateReward
offered for info about California Brown Pelican mutilation
Archives | Eddie Albert
| American White Pelicans 1, 2,
| Arizona condor chicks | CA
Brown Pelican mutilation1, 2 | domoic
acid | | Chase Lake 1, 2,
3 | Chase
Lake Pelicans return — First
Chicks hatch | Ivory-billed Woodpecker
| Klamath Falls White Pelican sculptures
| Nevada | Novosibirsk,
Russia | pipeline leak South Africa
|San Jose, CA | Spot-billed
pelicans | Tennessee | Texas
White Pelican | White pelicans vs trout
Eddie Albert, friend to pelicans
In the late 1960s, Albert's attention turned to ecology.
He read extensively on the subject and spoke with experts
in the field.
In 1969, he accompanied a molecular biologist from
UC Berkeley to Anacapa Island off Ventura County to observe
the nesting of pelicans. What they found were thousands
of collapsed pelican eggs.
"The runoff of DDT had been consumed by the
fish, the fish had been eaten by the pelicans, whose metabolism
had in turn been disturbed so that the lady pelican could
no longer manufacture a sturdy shell," Albert told
TV Guide in 1970. After learning more about the
effects of DDT, he said, "I stopped being a conservationist….
I became terrified. The more I studied, the more terrified
Sharing his ecological concerns on the "Tonight"
and "Today" shows, he became, in the words of
a TV Guide reporter, "a kind of ecological Paul Revere."
The TV appearances led to speaking invitations from high
schools, universities, and industrial and religious groups.
Albert formed a company to produce films to aid in "international
campaigns against environmental pollution."
Home base for the actor-activist was an unpretentious Spanish-style
house on an acre in Pacific Palisades, where Albert turned
the frontyard into a cornfield. He also installed a giant
greenhouse in the backyard, where he grew organic vegetables.
But a reporter learned better than to call Albert an ecologist.
"Ecologist, hell!" he scoffed in the 1970 TV Guide
interview. "Too mild a word. Check the Department of
Agriculture; 60% of the world is hungry already. With our
soil impoverished, our air poisoned, our wildlife crippled
by DDT, our rivers and lakes turning into giant cesspools,
and mass starvation an apparent inevitability by 1976, I
call myself a human survivalist!"
chicks hatch at Chase Lake refuge
By RICHARD HINTON/Bismarck Tribune
May 23, 2005 3:55 p.m. - The first American white pelican
chicks have hatched on two of the nesting sites at Chase
Lake National Wildlife Refuge. A U.S. Geological Survey
observer noted the young pelicans on Thursday, Ken Torkelson,
a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman, said Monday.
The observer had no estimate on the number of young pelicans.
"He was being real careful, and he didn't want to get
too close," explained Torkelson. "If he saw one
or two young, that was good enough."
The chicks were observed on the north island and the middle
"The south island is about a week behind," Torkelson
said, "maybe this week."
The observer also reported cormorants and gulls
in the area, and their presence could endanger pelican eggs
"Gulls, especially, are known to take out pelican eggs
or young, if they are left alone for long," Torkelson
The researcher again did the observations from a paddle-powered
canoe to minimize the potential of motor-noise disturbing
the nesting pelicans.
Last spring, the entire Chase Lake pelican colony -- an
estimated 30,000 big white birds -- abandoned their nests,
leaving chicks and unhatched eggs behind. Scientists continue
to puzzle through possible reasons for the mass pullout.
The observer had no estimate of total pelican numbers nesting
at Chase Lake. Two week ago, an estimated 10,000 adult pelicans
had arrived on their longtime nesting grounds.
Researchers are planning to conduct an aerial census later
this week or next week.
"My guess is the census will be down somewhat,"
Torkelson said. "It's a disappointment if it's down
but not a disaster."
(Reach reporter Richard Hinton at 250-8256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
sculptures in town
Thursday, May 19, 2005 By ANGELA TORRETTA
The first of the American white pelican sculptures that
will soon adorn Klamath Falls streets have made their way
Organizers of a project to bring a feathered art-theme to
town picked up three pelicans in California last week and
have been displaying them around town before they are painted.
Cindy Deas and Kathy Larson, project organizers, picked
up the 7-foot-tall polyurethane pelicans in Rancho Cordova,
Calif., where the sculptures are cast from a mold that replicates
an original, smaller prototype.
The mold is based on a digitally etched foam form reproducing
artist Stefan Savides' hand-crafted 14-inch clay prototype.
Deas says the first pelican is expected to go up in Veterans
Park before the city's Centennial Days event July 23.
Money made from pelican sales will support the Klamath Wingwatchers
for wildlife education programs and the Klamath Outdoor
Science School. Artists are invited to submit design ideas.
The pelican committee has already received 22 concepts,
and 11 of the pelicans have been sponsored.
Their web site is: http://www.pelicansonparade.com/
To get an application packet and design criteria,
or to find out more about sponsoring a pelican,
contact the Great Basin Visitor Association at 205 Riverside
Drive. or by calling 541-882-1501 or 1-800-445-6728.
Check the lovely logo of the Klamath Falls newspaper:
reports of domoic acid affecting pelicans or other seabirds
the way it did so devastatingly in Santa Barbara two years
ago <http://www.dhs.ca.gov/ps/ddwem/environmental/ Shellfish/Q_04_Attachment2.PDF>,
but there's concern: Domoic Acid: Entire Oregon
coast now closed to all shellfish harvesting <http://www.newportnewstimes.com/articles/2005/05/18/news/news12.txt>...
According to the webpage "Harmful Algal Species,"
the culprit algae is Pseudo-nitzschia australia, which affects
razor clams in Oregon and anchovies and sea birds in California....and:
Biology of the bloom still baffles experts <http://www.newportnewstimes.com/articles/2005/05/18/news/news13.txt>Earlier
in May, there was a report of cormorants in Humboldt Bay
being affected by domoic acid: A tale of domoic
by Nathan Rushton, 5/8/2005
Recent phone calls to the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center
regarding sightings of dead birds around Humboldt Bay have
alerted several nonprofit groups to collaborate to identify
Jessica Hobba, administrative director and aquatic birds
team leader for the care center, said the agency has received
numerous calls recently from people who have seen dead cormorants
around the bay.:::snip:::
birds at risk after pipeline leak
By Myrtle Ryan
Hundreds of birds, some of them on the Red Data (endangered)
list, could be affected by a massive pump failure on the
Richards Bay pipeline, which pumps effluent into the sea.
As a consequence of the accident, a destination which has
proved that a good working relationship between industry,
tourism and conservation is possible, also finds itself
The Thulasihleka Pan Bird Sanctuary in Richards
Bay, home to a large variety of water birds, has had its
access road cut off and its birding hides covered in a metre
of "steaming and foul-smelling" water.
"We won't know what the impact will be until we know
what contaminants were in the water," said Duncan Pritchard
of BirdLife's South Africa Zululand Birding Route.
The pipeline in question carries industrial effluent from
the town's major industries out to sea - among them Mondi,
Foskor, Bayside and Hillside. On Friday it poured thousands
of litres of effluent into the pan.
Speaking about the sequence of events, Pritchard explained
that the pump had failed at about 2pm on Saturday and effluent
had been released through safety valves, overflowing out
of the pipeline.
After one of BirdLife's local guides alerted Pritchard to
the leak, he went to investigate. Foskor employees told
him they were having trouble shutting down the outflow pipe.
"It took them five hours to deal with what should have
been a 20-minute job. All they needed was a front-end loader
to move sand, to block off the spillage flowing into the
pan," said Pritchard.
Instead it had taken the intervention of both the public
and local journalists before Foskor had placed a temporary
berm at 7pm.
"This pan has a long history of pollution,"
said Pritchard. "Can you imagine what's pouring into
the sea? All the industries pump their mess via this pipeline."
The final composition of the outflow includes gypsum,
heavy metals, sulphates and phosphates. What was of particular
concern was flouride.
A recent study had shown fluoride levels in the pan exceeded
"Flouride occurs in quantities that are known to cause
skeletal fluorosis in vertebrates, a condition affecting
bird's egg shells and bones."
Foskor's staff had indicated that the effluent only contained
outflow from Mondi. The analysis, which would prove or disprove
this, is only expected tomorrow. "Right now, everyone
is passing the buck," Pritchard claimed.
Several waterbirds use the Thulasihleka Pan as a breeding
site. It is home to at least 15 Red Data waterbird species
- such as goliath heron, lesser jacana and little bittern
- and at least nine colonial breeding waterbird species.
Hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of both pink-backed
and Eastern white pelicans frequent the pan. Rarities
such as Baillons crake, spotted crake, redshank, western
marsh harrier and Eurasian bittern also occasionally visit.
As a result of the polluted ground water, water lilies,
which had once been common, Pritchard said, had virtually
disappeared. This also affected associated species such
as pygmy geese, which had become scarcer.
While many industrial companies had tried to make a positive
difference in the area, some had a very poor environmental
track record, he said.
BirdLife Zululand had attempted to engage with all the companies
surrounding the pan, but Foskor had failed to attend any
meetings, or get involved with conservation efforts at the
Environmentalists were particularly worried that there seemed
to be no plan in place to deal with bigger and possibly
catastrophic spills, such as those that occurred in the
"They left the pan almost entirely devoid of life,"
Richard's Bay Councillor Liz Wood said, given modern technology,
this should never have happened. "The sand barrier
was too little too late. They should face a steep fine for
polluting the environment."
The Sunday Tribune was unable to obtain comment from Foskor,
whose main switchboard was unanswered. No answering machine
kicked in to relay emergency contact details.
• This article was originally published on page 1
of The Sunday Tribune on May 15, 2005 © Independent
pelicans return to N.D. refuge, but the puzzle persists
Hopeful signs seen after abandonment
By Steve Friess, Globe Correspondent | May 14,
MINNEAPOLIS -- About a year ago, 30,000 pelicans abandoned
their newborns and unhatched eggs and fled the Chase Lake
National Wildlife Refuge about 120 miles west of Fargo,
Researchers were stunned to find that the largest pelican
breeding colony in the world had become completely vacant
as the birds had scattered to refuges in the Dakotas, Minnesota,
Iowa, and southern Canada.
The incident drew international attention, with biologists
saying they considered the situation as perplexing a natural
phenomenon as crop circles. While the disappearance
of thousands of white pelicans remains a vexing natural
mystery, the birds are back this spring, though in much
The arrival of about 11,000 birds this migration
season is seen as a hopeful sign.
''So far, things are going along as normal," said principal
investigator and wildlife biologist Marsha Sovada of the
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in nearby Jamestown,
N.D. ''But if it's going to be the middle of July and we're
still at only 5,500 pairs, we'll be scratching our heads
She said 11,000 is only a partial count based on long-distance
observations because researchers are reluctant to spook
the birds by flying overhead, the usual counting method.
If there is another abandonment this year, researchers may
be able to figure out why. Biologists are going out three
times a week with binoculars to observe the birds, and a
solar-powered camera set up before the breeding season is
trained on the peninsula and the trio of islands on Chase
Lake where pelicans gather, Sovada said.
Most of the refuge, a remote 4,385-acre site, is closed
this year to the public. A 400-foot-long electrified fence
was erected near where the pelicans nest to keep out coyotes
and other predators.
Later, Sovada said, researchers will place satellite transmitters
on 10 adult pelicans after their eggs have hatched to track
them for three years.
Much of the monitoring, including $40,000 for the satellite
transmitters, is being paid for as part of a study of West
Nile virus in pelicans, Sovada said.
There is no strong evidence to explain last year's abandonment,
said Ken Torkelson, spokesman for the US Fish and Wildlife
Service in Bismarck, N.D. The fence, for instance, is a
proactive measure, although few biologists think coyotes
attacked the birds because coyotes would have had difficulty
reaching the islands. Also, there were no carcasses to suggest
''We don't know what the problem was, so we're trying to
eliminate any problems we can think of," Torkelson
said. So far, observers report normal mating activity and
can see adult pelicans squatting on nests that presumably
have eggs in them, Sovada said.
She said there probably will be fewer birds at Chase Lake
this summer than the usual 30,000 because there was little
or no procreation last year.
Theories abound to explain last year's woes. Ron Reynolds,
a biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Bismarck,
said a climate change caused the disturbance. Last summer
was among the coldest on record for much of North Dakota,
with temperatures about 5 degrees below normal near Chase
Lake. It followed a very dry spring that shrank wetlands,
''Pelicans feed on the surface of the water, so
the cool weather may have put their prey a little deeper,"
Reynolds said. ''The foraging success may well have been
poor. . . . Pelicans value self-preservation over reproduction.
It's a physiological hormonal thing they go through. They
decided it was better to live another year than struggle."
But other specialists note that the coldest summer on record
was 1992 and there was no similar abandonment that year.
Biologists also found that the young abandoned last spring
had full bellies of crayfish and minnows. Specialists say
the fact that the offspring were well fed suggests the adults
''For every Ron Reynolds theory, there's somebody equally
qualified with another theory," Sovada said. ''I don't
know if we're ever going to know. It seems like there's
a little bit of truth to every idea. In concert, maybe all
of these things together caused this event."
The abandonment at Chase Lake raised worry in Medina, N.D.,
a town of 450 residents about 10 miles from the refuge.
It is so proud of its connection to the bird haven that
a white pelican is painted on the local water tower.
Birders come from around the country to see the huge flocks
of majestic, wide-spanned pelicans.
''The pelicans are a big deal here," Medina city manager
Bradley Moser said. ''I was just like everybody else, not
knowing. There isn't much we can do about it, but it would
be interesting to know."
Innkeeper Janean Schmidt of the Chase Lake Country Inn in
Medina said the disappearance of the birds actually may
have increased demand last year.
''We still had a good turnout," she said. ''A lot of
it was curiosity. People came up to see what was going on.
I don't think the fact that the pelicans were gone really
bothered them so much."
© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
see pelicans in Russia: Novosibirsk
Region: GENERAL INFORMATION:::snip:::
to the variety of natural zones, nearly 300 species of birds
have been recorded in Novosibirsk Region. Most of them are
migratory, but there are permanent residents as well. Forty-five
species are considered game birds; another 22 are
classed as rare and protected, e.g., the black stork, osprey,
sea eagle, white-tailed eagle, golden eagle, and pelican.
Exotic flamingos are rare visitors from Kazakhstan. Waterfowl
are especially abundant in the region because of the large
number of rivers, lakes, and bogs. These include various species
of grebes, geese, ducks, gulls, and sandpipers, as well as
bitterns, gray heron, swans, and the Arctic loon. A flyway
for many migratory birds passes over the lakes of the Baraba
Lowlands; therefore, the Chany Lake system is of international
significance as an important waterfowl habitat.
is a fish, er fowl, out of water
Web Posted: 05/14/2005 12:00 AM CDT
Roger Croteau. Express-News Staff Writer
NEW BRAUNFELS — Maybe he was too old or injured to
complete another migration. Maybe he's lost. Or maybe he
just likes the neighborhood.
Whatever the reason, a rare white pelican has taken up residence
at Landa Lake in New Braunfels' Landa Park.
"He's been here for three or four months," said
Roger Dolle, the city's park ranger superintendent. "We
have a few pelicans that migrate through in the winter,
but they always move on. For whatever reason, this one hasn't."
The sight of the huge white bird with the long beak among
the geese, ducks and cormorants on the lake catches the
attention of quite a few visitors, Dolle said.
"He's become somewhat of a celebrity," Dolle said.
"We get quite a few questions about him. And from time
to time, he ends up tangled in some fishing line."
Dolle said he's had to catch the bird in a net a couple
of times to get him untangled and pull fishing lures from
"He seems pretty healthy" to judge by his wrestling
matches with the pelican, Dolle said.
The white pelican is one of the world's largest birds, with
a wingspan of up to nine feet. Although not an endangered
species by federal standards, the white pelican is listed
as endangered by Washington state and as threatened in Alberta,
Canada. Perhaps 120,000 of the birds remain, with destruction
of wetlands the main cause of their decline.
They generally spend winter on the coasts of Florida and
Mexico and summer in the Pacific Northwest and Canada.
The white pelican is not the only unusual visitor to Landa
Dolle said someone once turned a prairie dog loose and two
African pied crows once escaped from an aviary along Interstate
35 and settled in the park. And once a caiman was let loose,
Other generally migratory birds, including ducks and teal,
have also taken up year-round residence.
"I noticed him right away," visitor Ryan Stevens
said of the new resident. "I thought it was a pelican.
That's interesting. I don't blame him for moving in —
it's nice here."
email@example.com Online at: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA051405.3B.pelican.26feed313.html
number of wild condor chicks may hatch in Arizona this year
Fri, 13 May 2005 05:56:12 -0700
A record number of endangered California condor chicks could
Arizona this year. Three pairs of adult condors are currently
nesting in Arizona,
and the eggs could hatch later this month.
"We're extremely excited about the possibility of having
chicks this year," says Kathy Sullivan, an Arizona
Game and Fish Department
condor biologist. "It's great news for the condor reintroduction
a sign that this population can one day be self-sustaining."
Back in 2003, Arizona had its first condor chick hatched
in the wild since
the species was reintroduced here in 1996. Last year, two
hatched in the Arizona wilds. Three chicks this year would
mark a steady
trend toward increasing the population of the birds here.
"Each year, the numbers of condors breeding in both
the wild and captivity
are increasing," says Chris Parish, a condor biologist
with The Peregrine
Fund. "This steady rate of success brings us that much
closer to reaching
our goals. In fact, later this year, we plan to release
at least 11 more
condors into the wild as a result of our progress so far."
In 1982, only 22 California condors were left in the world.
The birds were
captured in an effort to breed and save the species. Now,
130 condors live
in captivity and another 113 live in the wild in Arizona,
Baja California, Mexico. Captive-reared birds are periodically
several sites, including the Vermilion Cliffs in Arizona.
The three condor pairs that may produce chicks in Arizona
this year are
nesting at the Grand Canyon, Vermilion Cliffs, and on the
Both chicks that hatched in the wild last year appear to
be doing well and
are traveling farther and farther from their nest sites.
first chick hatched in the wild since reintroduction was
found dead at the
Grand Canyon in late March. The cause of death has not yet
California condors have been federally listed as endangered
since 1967. They
can weigh up to 26 pounds and have a wingspan of up to 9
1/2 feet. Visitors
at the Grand Canyon and Vermilion Cliffs may be able to
observe the birds
during this time of year.
The condor reintroduction in Arizona is a joint project
of many partners,
Game and Fish Department, U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service,
Peregrine Fund, Bureau of Land Management, National
Park Service, Kaibab
National Forest, and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
to Mary Powell-Mcconnell of the Arizona
PELICANS vs. CUTTHROAT
May 6, 2005
Drought affects not only reservoir levels but the quality
of life for the animals that live there. Since 2002, Idaho
Fish and Game biologists have been tracking the relationship
between low water levels and a decline in cutthroat trout
populations. Tammy Scardino went upstream to find out what
measures are being taken to protect them.
In 2001, cutthroat trout were thriving with a population
just over 4,700. In 2004, that number drastically dropped
to 120. Fish and Game Biologist David Teuscher
says trout levels are not the only thing that's decreased
considerably over the years."We're standing in a spot
here where we should be about 10 or 15 feet below a normal
full reservoir. So, we'd be surrounded in water here."
Pelican numbers, on the other hand, have skyrocketed.
It is estimated that 2,000 of them feed in the area."We're
trying to find a good balance here. We don't have to do
anything aggressive to the birds; at the same time, our
cutthroat trout will make it through here safely."
After discovering last year that 70% of cut-throats had
bird scars, Idaho Fish and Game took to the shallow part
of the river. It was there they discovered the pelicans'
method of trout fishing. Pelicans float down the river in
groups of 20 or 30 and catch their prey. Lines with bright
flags are placed 30 feet or so apart on a 2-1/2 mile stretch
of the river where cutthroat are most vulnerable.
"We don't want them to fly in here and crash land and
get hurt. We just want them to see the lines, see it's not
safe for them."
In about 15 days, cutthroat trout will be coming through
the area to spawn. It's Fish and Game's hope that flag lines
will be an effective deterrent. Idaho Fish and Game is optimistic
that once again they can improve cutthroat trout population
levels and maintain a healthy habitat for all.
Cutthroat trout that make it past the Blackfoot Inlet have
another 30 miles to go before they safely reach their spawning
leopards almost elusive in Western Ghats
PTI Madurai May 5:
Meanwhile, officials in charge of eco-development in Gulf
of Munnar biosphere, 120 km from here, say it has become
a major destination for migratory birds.
Melselvanoor is increasingly becoming a popular site for
bird watchers. According to a rough survey, more than 4000
migratory birds, including spoon bills, spot-billed
pelicans ((Pelicans philippensis) is a globally
threatened species, once common and wide-spread throughout
Asia), painted storks, gray horns, white ibis, darters,
cormorants, some Indian and some foreign birds, had arrived.http://www.navhindtimes.com/stories.php?part=news&Story_ID=050610
Thought Extinct Rediscovered
By Randolph E. Schmid, The Associated Press
Thursday, April 28, 2005; 6:32 PM
WASHINGTON -- The ivory-billed woodpecker, once prized for
its plumage and sought by American Indians as magical, was
thought to be extinct for years. Now it's been sighted again
and conservationists are exulting.
The striking bird, last seen in 1944, has been rediscovered
in the Big Woods area of Arkansas, scientists and conservationists
Cornell Lab of Ornithology has an extensive (18 pages) story
on the Ivory-billed, the search team, the history of the
search and more. Visit: <http://birds.cornell.edu/ivory/story1.htm>≈Other
birds on verge of extinction:
The last known wild specimen perished in 2001. Around 60
birds survive in zoos or private collections
Believed extinct in the wild in Brazil. A total of 44 birds
exist in captivity, according to Birdlife International
Flourished on the island of Guam until the reintroduction
of the brown tree snake. Now 180 birds have been bred in
captivity, for release into snake-free zones
Was last seen in the Mexican wilderness in 1972. But captive
birds survive in the US and Germany
The last wild bird died in 2002. Some bred in captivity
have been released into the wild
Believed extinct for 300 years, it was rediscovered on a
rocky offshore island, free of rats, in 1950 <http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1472647,00.html>
U.S. to Probe Slashing
Attacks on Pelicans; Reward Hits
Several of the birds found in Orange County with their pouches
cut are recovering.
By Claudia Zequeira, Times Staff Writer
As several endangered brown pelicans recovered Monday from
slashing injuries to their pouches, federal authorities said
they would launch an investigation into the attacks, and a
reward leading to the capture of those responsible grew to
The U.S. Humane Society said Monday that it would
add $2,500 to the reward fund. The announcement came shortly
after the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center, a rescue organization
based in Huntington Beach, offered a $3,500 reward for information.
"The assumption here is that this is a case of animal
cruelty," said Paul Bruce, a program coordinator with
the Humane Society's West Coast regional office.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday
that investigators would be assigned to the case in the next
few days to try learn more about the incidents. Birds with
torn pouches have been found between Dana Point and Huntington
Beach, most with long cuts parallel to their bills.
"We don't have an open case yet, but we're looking into
it," said Marie Palladini, a supervisory special agent.
Since late March, five pelicans have been found with their
pouches slashed, with the most recent case reported about
a week ago. One of the birds died, one recovered and has been
released, and the other three are being treated at two wildlife
The dead bird's pouch was ripped from top to bottom, and its
bill was sliced. That bird died several days after being found.
Surviving birds appear to be recovering well. Debbie McGuire
of the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center, which rescued two
of the birds and is caring for one, said pelicans often got
caught in fishermen's lines. The birds "dive down to
get the bait," she said."This could have been a
fisherman trying to get his hook back."
The latest injured pelican, a female, underwent three hours
of surgery Thursday to reattach the pouch. Recovery, McGuire
said, would take two to three months.
Pelicans are unable to eat without their pouches and can starve
in about a week, she said. "By the time they get to me,
a lot of them are malnourished," she said.
Pacific Wildlife Project Director Linda McLeod, who is caring
for two of the birds, said surgery to reattach the beaks was
simple but time-consuming. "A pelican pouch is really
nothing more than a huge mouth," she said. "The
outside of the pouch is skin, and the inside … is mouth
tissue. You have to reattach both sides to get the job done."
McLeod, whose organization is one of four wildlife rescue
groups in Orange County, said rehabilitation cost about $300
per bird. "The money goes mostly to buying fish,"
California brown pelicans are an endangered species, which
makes harming them a violation of the federal Endangered Species
Act. About 5,000 pelicans of breeding age live in the state.
This is not the first time California brown pelicans have
been mutilated in the region. In late 2002 and early 2003,
about 20 dead and injured pelicans were found in Los Angeles
Harbor, and sporadic cases are seen in Orange County every
year. And in 1982, about two dozen pelicans were found off
Dana Point with their upper beaks severed. Many of the birds
died; the survivors were sent to a bird park in Germany.
Anyone with information on the attacks is asked to
call (888) DFG-CALTIP. Copyright
2005 Los Angeles Times
Apr 14, 2005
Pelicans with slashed throats might
have been intentionally cut
BY PAT BRENNAN, The Orange County Register SANTA
ANA, Calif. - (KRT) - An endangered brown pelican
whose throat pouch might have been intentionally slit is
expected to receive emergency surgery in Costa Mesa on Thursday
- one of four pelicans brought to bird rescue specialists
in recent weeks with similar injuries.
One of the birds died, and two others are apparently recovering.
But while the rescuers say all the injuries appear
to be suspicious, they also say they cannot rule out the
possibility that the wounds were accidental - or the result
of good intentions with bad results.
They also hope it is not a repeat of a rash of deliberate
pelican mutilations in 2002 and 2003, when as many as 20
dead or injured pelicans, some apparently shot, were found
near Los Angeles Harbor.
"We're asking the public to report any suspicious
activities," said Debbie McGuire of the Wetlands and
Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach.
The center is putting together reward
money for information leading to the arrest of anyone who
"It's $500 so far," McGuire said. "I'm sure
it's going to grow a lot more. I think money will make people
Although their numbers have increased in recent years, brown
pelicans, large birds that dive headfirst from as high as
60 feet to catch fish, are still listed as endangered.
McGuire received two birds, the first April 5 from
Newport Beach, the second April 10 from Huntington Beach.
The first bird survived for four days before dying of its
The second bird, which appeared to be improving Wednesday
after assisted feedings, was scheduled for surgery at the
All Creatures Care Cottage in Costa Mesa.
McGuire said cuts on both birds appeared to be intentional.
The dead bird's cut went from its breast to its
lower beak, and the beak was split, she said.
The second was more of an "ear to ear" slash.
Two birds with similar injuries are being cared
for by Linda McLeod of the Pacific Wildlife Project in Laguna
Niguel. One, brought to her last month, received stitches
and is recovering at McLeod's home. The other, brought in
Wednesday, received stitches and will be kept at her home.
McLeod, who has rescued pelicans and other seabirds for
30 years, seemed less sure than McGuire that the two birds
brought to her and the one receiving surgery today were
intentionally slashed. But she called the wounds "suspicious"
and said deliberate mutilation was likely. McLeod said pelicans
with slashed pouches are brought to rescuers throughout
the year. Some seem more likely to be accidental tears,
while others appear to be intentional cuts.
Pelicans often appear near fishing boats and compete
with fishermen for fish, she said. Tears can result when
a pelican gets a hook caught in its mouth and someone tries
to pull it out.
She said people also sometimes try to cut a hook free from
a pelican's mouth but end up slicing the bird's pouch instead.
"It could be somebody just stupidly takes a hook out,
or stupidly takes a swath with a fishing knife," she
Both women were careful to point out that there
is no evidence fishermen are to blame for the recent pelican
injuries. Mutilating brown pelicans would be a violation
of the federal Endangered Species Act. Ho Truong, a special
agent with the enforcement branch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service, said Wednesday that he had just received McGuire's
reports of the incidents but as yet had taken no further
About 20 dead or injured pelicans - some apparently shot
- were found or brought to rescuers in a month's period
at the end of 2002 and beginning of 2003 in the area of
Los Angeles Harbor.
Also in 2002, six pelicans were found on the Oregon coast
with their upper beaks cut off. No connections were found
between the Oregon and California attacks.
© 2005, The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.).
Visit the Register on the World Wide Web at http://www.ocregister.comhttp://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/nation/11387461.htm
ND • April 14, 2005
1,000 pelicans are now back home at Chase Lake site
By RICHARD HINTON, Bismarck Tribune
More American white pelicans are filtering back to the nesting
grounds they abruptly abandoned last spring.
U.S. Geological Survey observers counted about 1,000 of the
big birds on Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge's north island
last weekend, Ken Torkelson, a spokesman with the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service's Bismarck office, said Wednesday.
"It's encouraging," he said. "Things appear
to be proceeding normally."
Last spring, an estimated 30,000 pelicans prematurely pulled
out of the refuge's nesting sites, which they've used for
more than 100 years.
As the adults departed over a period of several weeks, they
left behind eggs and chicks, none of which survived.
Although there are many theories for why the pelicans left,
scientists have yet to determine the cause.
Scientists expect most of the pelicans that survived the winter
and two migrations to return to Chase Lake.
The pelicans are expected to continue filling up the north
island on Chase Lake.
Later arrivals are likely to settle in on a second island.
When it's at capacity, the pelican stragglers will settle
down on a mainland peninsula.
Federal crews installed an electrified predator fence across
the peninsula last week in an effort to keep predators, such
as foxes and coyotes, away from that colony, which was the
first to pull out last year.
Scientists also have increased their monitoring of the colonies,
and after the chicks have fledged, 10 pelicans will be fitted
with transmitters to help study their movements and gather
Public access to the refuge has been curtailed this season,
and biologists recommend that people who want to see pelicans
should scout out nearby wetlands, where the white birds often
can be found foraging.
(Reach reporter Richard Hinton at 250-8256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Pelicans Return to N.D. Refuge
Biologists Encouraged After First Wave of White Pelicans
Return to North Dakota Refuge
By JAMES MacPHERSON; The Associated Press
Apr. 7, 2005 - Biologists are buoyed by the first wave of
white pelicans returning to the Chase Lake National Wildlife
Refuge in central North Dakota.
But they're still clueless as to why thousands of the big
birds abandoned their nesting grounds last year on the refuge,
which for a century had been the site of the largest nesting
colony of white pelicans in North America.
The nesting grounds were left littered with eggs and chicks,
none of which survived, said Ken Torkelson, a spokesman
for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Bismarck.
Ten breeding pairs of pelicans were spotted on Tuesday
at the refuge, Torkelson said. Pelicans also have been spotted
en route to the refuge from their wintering grounds along
the Gulf Coast to Florida, he said.
Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures
Pelicans trickle back to N.D. refuge they abandoned
April 12, 2005: http://www.startribune.com/stories/462/5342750.html
migrate through Quad-Cities
Hundreds of the birds are visiting the local area this week
on their way up the Mississippi River to shallow lakes in
Minnesota, Wisconsin and Canada. Some will spend the summer
“We’re hoping the population continues to grow
so we may see some nesting in these shallow waters,”
said Bardole, pointing to the Pleasant Valley canal.
Two seagulls bobbed alongside the pelican and Bardole said
they probably were waiting for it to catch a bait-sized fish.
Unlike bald eagles, pelicans are gregarious birds who do not
mind sharing territory with other water fowl.
“If one of them appears to be catching a fish, the others
will come in kind of like a human fisherman who’s found
a good spot,” he told the boys.
Two birds soared overhead with their long necks folded back
on their bodies looking for another prime fishing location.
Lock and Dam 14 and Nahant Marsh in Davenport are two of the
best local areas to view the pelicans, he said. Spring Lake
above Clinton and the Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge
outside of Wapello, Iowa, also offer good viewing.
Zoo unveils newest attractions, including two endangered
By SHEILA SMITH - H&R Staff Writer
DECATUR - Seymour the camel seemed quite content stretched
out on his side in a pile of dirt and basking in the sun
on Friday. He is also getting along with his new female
companion, Mona Shasha, another two-humped Bactrian camel
at Scovill Zoo.
Other star attractions at the zoo, which officially
opens today, include Taylor and Kaiser, two white American
The new pelicans are still warming up to zookeepers, but
they are helping relieve some of the sadness after Quincy,
a pelican, and two Chilean flamingos were killed at the
zoo in October.
Zoo Director Mike Borders said he received a call from a
woman who lives near Lake Taylorville. She told him nearly
200 white pelicans had landed in the lake and then flew
off, except one that had been injured.
Borders said it was quite an ordeal when he and his assistant,
Dave Webster, took a canoe out into a shallow part of Lake
Taylorville to find the pelican and bring it to shore and
back to Decatur.
The other white pelican, named Kaiser, was found injured
by a veterinarian who lives in Quincy and then sent to Decatur's
Pelicans are considered an endangered bird and protected
under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
"Even more astounding is that Kaiser comes from Quincy,
Illinois, the same city our original pelican, Quincy, came
from," park board President Chris Riley said. "Now
that we have two of them, it is going to be fun for the
kids to come out to the zoo and see them."
A handful of students from Baum and South Shores elementary
schools were at the zoo Friday getting a sneak preview.
Hannah McElyea headed up a fund-raising campaign at Baum
to collect money to help the zoo replace the pelican and
flamingos that died last year.
• They have a wingspan up to 9 feet and weigh more
than 20 pounds. Life span is about 15 years.
• They work together to drive prey into shallows,
then use their large pouches as scoops and sieves.
• They winter on the Gulf Coast, returning each spring
to northern sites where they were hatched or had a successful
• They build ground nests of dirt and plants, which
are closely grouped and usually are on islands for protection
against such predators as coyotes.
• Females lay one to four eggs. The young hatch in
30 days, featherless and blind. Usually only the first sibling
survives by out-competing the others for food.
• Parents share incubation and feeding duties, flying
far to find salamanders, small fish, frogs and snakes, which
they regurgitate into the pouch to feed their young.
• After three weeks, the young leave their nests and
gather in large "pods" for safety against predators.
Another defense: regurgitating, producing an offensive stench.
The young fly and fend for themselves after two months.
• More information: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
White pelicans at Chase Lake refuge — Photo: U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service
Pub. April 2, 2005
hummers, pelicans pop up
By MARCIA DAVIS, email@example.com
April 1, 2005
A 15-pound white pelican — one of North America's largest
birds — was discovered in Craig Cove on Fort Loudoun
Lake on March 21 by Fred and Vivienne Symonds of Knoxville.
On March 27 its black-tipped flight feathers were seen from
below as the bird soared on its 9-foot wingspan and ascended
in higher and higher circles overhead.
The cove is about two miles downriver from where Paul E. Smith
of Knoxville saw a white pelican in May 2003 near Lakeshore
Park and Fourth Creek. The Symonds and neighbors Jim and Anne
Johnson remember seeing a white pelican in Craig Cove in June
1985. Jim paddled out in his canoe to photograph the huge
bird, and the late J.B. Owen wrote a News Sentinel column
about this pelican. It was the first white pelican reported
in Knox County since September 1949, when one was shot by
a hunter in Concord.
on Fri, Apr. 01, 2005 S.J. salt ponds opened to
bay for the first time in 60 years
RELEASE OF WATER MARKS NEXT PHASE IN WORK TO RESTORE REGION'S
By Paul Rogers, Mercury News With
a dramatic gush, state and federal leaders on Thursday opened
tidal gates from nine former industrial salt ponds on San
Jose's waterfront, allowing millions of gallons of water
in them to mix with San Francisco Bay for the first time
in 60 years.
The ceremony allows bay waters, complete with their fish,
worms, shrimp, plankton and other species, to expand into
2,512 acres of salt ponds -- an area three times the size
of New York's Central Park -- that had been blocked off
by levees since the 1940s. :::snip:::
After officials opened the 10 former ponds in July, the
number of birds wintering in South Bay marshes skyrocketed.
Cormorants, pintail ducks, white pelicans
and other species are flocking to the new habitat to eat
the food that has now spread to the ponds.
``The response from wildlife been far more than we expected,''
Morris said. ``We've seen the numbers of shorebirds and
waterfowl in some places double.'':::snip::: ``We've
worked for this since 1966,'' said Florence LaRiviere, co-founder
of Citizens Committee to Complete the Refuge, in Palo Alto.
``What could be here is high-rise buildings. But look at
the beauty. The clear sky. The open space. It's wonderful.''
1, 2005, Cui-ui migration to begin Monday
The U.S. Fish & WildlifeService will provide an opportunity
at 1 p.m. Monday at the Marble Bluff Fish Passage Facility,
for the media to get a first-hand look at the beginning
of the annual endangered cui-ui spawning migration.
The redesigned fish lock is moving approximately 2,000 of
the cui-ui through every five minutes.
This year's run follows a four-year drought with only small
runs in 2002 and 2003, with no runs at all in 2001 and 2004.
The cui-ui were listed as endangered in 1967 and were on
the original Endangered Species List when the Act was passed
in 1973. The cui-ui are only found in Pyramid Lake and use
the lower portions of the Truckee River for spawning.
It is hoped that the protracted cui-ui migration
will have a positive impact on the successful fledging of
white pelicans nesting Anaho Island in the Pyramid Lake
Pelican fledgling success over the past four years has been
low since the pelicans are dependent on the runs for nourishment.
The fish lock at Marble Fish Passage Facility was reconstructed
in 1998 into a fish lock system.
The Bureau of Reclamation maintains the fish lock and it
is operated by the Service. The dam was designed to stop
head-cut in the river and as an impoundment for fish passage.
an eye on the pelicans
By RICHARD HINTON, Bismarck Tribune, 4/01/05
Biologists are making elaborate plans to monitor and safeguard
American white pelicans when they return to their long-time
nesting grounds at Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge,
the same sites they mysteriously left last spring, abandoning
nests and chicks.
Strategies the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to employ
include restricting visitor access to the nesting areas,
where up to 30,000 pelicans are expected later this month,
and putting up a barrier fence to prevent predation by coyotes
and foxes on the peninsula colony.
Also, biologists from the U.S. Geological Survey's Northern
Prairie Wildlife Research Center in Jamestown will place
satellite transmitters on 10 adult pelicans to track their
movements and gather other data, but that won't be done
until after the pelican eggs hatch. USGS scientists also
will conduct a companion study to a West Nile virus assessment
that began in 2004. They will use surveillance cameras,
binoculars and spotting scopes to observe the colony from
a distance, minimizing human disturbance.
Scientists plan to use the data and observations to put
together a management and conservation plan for American
white pelicans. The USFWS announced the strategies Thursday.
So far, pelicans don't appear ready to leave their
"We're not seeing high-flying flocks headed out yet,"
Ann Paul, Tampa Bay regional coordinator for Audubon of
Florida, said by telephone Thursday. "About 250 pelicans
were spotted on a lake last weekend, and there are more
on (part of Tampa Bay)."
American white pelicans typically pull out of their coastal
wintering grounds along the Gulf of Mexico between mid-March
and mid-April, Paul said.
The pelicans are a popular viewing attraction for birders
and others who appreciate wildlife, but this year, access
routes to the nesting sites will be marked with warnings
that say "area beyond this sign is closed." Anyone
caught violating the restrictions could face a fine, said
Ken Torkelson, a spokesman for the USFWS' Bismarck office.
In the past, pelican watchers could obtain an access permit
from the refuge headquarters that allowed them to get close-up
looks at the big, white, double-chinned birds.
The best pelican-viewing opportunities this summer will
be on wetlands anywhere around Chase Lake, said Torkelson.
The refuge is north of Medina.
The pelicans' pullout last year began in late May
and carried over into early June. An estimated 27,000 pelicans
vanished, abandoning two of the three refuge nesting sites
and thousands of eggs.
A third nesting site, located on a large island, continued
to hold about 2,500 nests, and nesting activity there appeared
to be progressing normally. However, a late June check of
the island revealed that those nests, most with newly hatched
young, also had been abandoned. None of the chicks survived.
Satellite tracking of four adult Chase Lake pelicans showed
one bird moved to western South Dakota, another to eastern
South Dakota, a third to northern Minnesota and the fourth
to north-central North Dakota.
What caused the exodus remains a mystery. The leading theories
have centered around predator or human disturbance, wet
and often cold weather, shortages of forage or disease.
Investigations, however, did not lead to concrete answers.
The 10 adult pelicans to be tracked will be fitted with
backpack-style transmitters that are about the size of a
deck of playing cards and weigh about two and a half ounces.
Solar powered, the transmitters are expected to last for
three years, Torkelson said.
Data from the transmitters will help scientists understand
nest attendance, proportion of time spent away from the
colony, distances traveled to foraging sites and their locations
Using 10 transmitters was a financial consideration,
Torkelson said, explaining that they cost "in the neighborhood
of $4,000 apiece." Data collection from the transmitters
also costs money, Torkelson added.
"We feel we can get the information we need from that
many transmitters," he said.
The fence the USFWS will install will be 540 feet long and
42 inches tall. It will be electric, and solar panels will
provide the juice.
"Supposedly, one touch will be a learning process (for
predators)," Torkelson said.
The fence is expected to go up within the next couple of
"The frost is pretty thick on the ground, and the lake
is still iced over," Torkelson said. The budget for
the fence is $1,500.
White pelicans are one of the largest birds in North America,
measuring 6 feet from bill to tail and weighing up to 20
pounds. The wing-span can be nine and a half feet. Adult
pelicans have a long orange bill with a pouch.
The Chase Lake nesting colony is believed to be
the largest in North America. White pelicans have been nesting
there for more than 100 years.
Biologists have monitored Chase Lake pelicans since 1905,
when the birds numbered about 50. President Theodore Roosevelt
designated the site as a national wildlife refuge in 1908,
after many of the birds were being killed for their feathers
and used for target practice.
Wildlife officials have been conducting annual aerial surveys
of the pelicans since 1972, and their numbers have tripled
at the refuge in the past 30 years. In 2000, scientists
recorded an all-time high 35,466 breeding pelicans and 17,733
As for whether the pelicans will return sometime this month,
Torkelson is a believer.
"There's no reason to believe they won't be back,"
(Reach Richard Hinton at 250-8256 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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