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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. There are also occasional news of other endangered bird species and threats to seabirds, especially, but also to other birds, worldwide. The hope is to draw support for the Santa Barbara pelicans: by appreciating pelicans and other threatened and vulnerable birds, we can appreciate and support even more those rescued California Brown Pelicans, now healthy but unable to be free.

NB: For longer stories, this non-profit site, PelicanLife.org, will edit, with edits marked by ... or :::snip:::, and will provide active links to the original sources. PelicanLife's News section's sole purpose is educational, to contribute to pelican education and research. Citations and references should always be to those original sources. Most pieces require permission for copying for other than "fair use" purposes such as here; please contact the original sources for permission.

 

April, May 2005
Reward offered and Scovill Zoo updateReward offered for info about California Brown Pelican mutilation
2004-5 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 returnFirst 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 |

R.I.P.: Eddie Albert, friend to pelicans
:::snip:::
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 I got."
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!"
:::snip:::
http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-albert28may28,0,2546879.story?coll=la-home-headlines

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Pelican 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 island.
"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 and young.
"Gulls, especially, are known to take out pelican eggs or young, if they are left alone for long," Torkelson said.
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 outdoors@bismarcktribune.net.)
http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2005/05/23/news/update/udd04.txt

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Pelican 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 to town.
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.
http://www.heraldandnews.com/articles/2005/05/19/news/top_stories/top1.txt
Check the lovely logo of the Klamath Falls newspaper:
 http://www.heraldandnews.com/art/tab/logo_left.gif
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No 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 acid?
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 the cause.
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:::
<http://www.eurekareporter.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?ArticleID=659>

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Endangered 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 threatened.
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 toxic levels.
"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 bird sanctuary.
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 1980s.
"They left the pan almost entirely devoid of life," Pritchard said.
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 Online 2004.
<http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=14&click_id=14&art_id=vn20050515132758389C284563>

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Many pelicans return to N.D. refuge, but the puzzle persists
Hopeful signs seen after abandonment
By Steve Friess, Globe Correspondent  |  May 14, 2005

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, N.D.
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 smaller numbers.
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 some more."
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 an attack.

''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, he said.

''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 dispersed quickly.
''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
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2005/05/14/many_pelicans_return_to_nd_refuge_but_the_puzzle_persists/

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To see pelicans in Russia: Novosibirsk Region:  GENERAL INFORMATION:::snip:::
Owing 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.
:::snip:::<http://www.kommersant.com/tree.asp?rubric=5&node=401&doc_id=-57>

Pelican 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 his legs.
"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 Park.
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, he said.
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."
rcroteau@express-news.net Online at: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA051405.3B.pelican.26feed313.html

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Record 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 hatch in
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 three wild-hatched
chicks this year," says Kathy Sullivan, an Arizona Game and Fish Department
condor biologist. "It's great news for the condor reintroduction project and
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 condor chicks
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, California, and
Baja California, Mexico. Captive-reared birds are periodically released at
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 Kaibab Plateau.
Both chicks that hatched in the wild last year appear to be doing well and
are traveling farther and farther from their nest sites. Unfortunately, the
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 been determined.
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,
including Arizona Game and Fish Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
The Peregrine Fund, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Kaibab
National Forest, and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
(Thanks to Mary Powell-Mcconnell of the Arizona Desert Museum)

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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 beds.
http://www.kpvi.com/index.cfm?page=nbcheadlines.cfm&ID=25842

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Tigers, leopards almost elusive in Western Ghats
PTI Madurai May 5:
:::snip:::
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

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Woodpecker 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 reported Thursday.
:::clip::: <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/28/AR2005042800356.html>
≈The 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:
Spix's macaw
The last known wild specimen perished in 2001. Around 60 birds survive in zoos or private collections
Alagoas curassow
Believed extinct in the wild in Brazil. A total of 44 birds exist in captivity, according to Birdlife International
Guam rail
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
Socorro dove
Was last seen in the Mexican wilderness in 1972. But captive birds survive in the US and Germany
Hawaiian crow
The last wild bird died in 2002. Some bred in captivity have been released into the wild
Bermuda petrel
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>

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April 19, 2005
U.S. to Probe Slashing
Attacks on Pelicans; Reward Hits $6,000
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 $6,000.
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 rescue centers.

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," she said.

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
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/state/la-me-pelicans19apr19,1,5221295.story?coll=la-news-state

Thursday, 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 mutilated pelicans.
"It's $500 so far," McGuire said. "I'm sure it's going to grow a lot more. I think money will make people talk."
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 injuries.
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 said.
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 action.

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

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Bismarck, 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 other data.
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 outdoors@bismarcktribune.net.)
http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2005/04/14/news/local/nws03.txt

White 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.
:::snip:::
Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=647983
see also:
Pelicans trickle back to N.D. refuge they abandoned in '04
April 12, 2005: http://www.startribune.com/stories/462/5342750.html

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Pelicans migrate through Quad-Cities
:::snip:::
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 here.
“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.
...
http://www.qctimes.com/internal.php?story_id=1048536&t=Local+News&c=2,1048536

Scovill Zoo unveils newest attractions, including two endangered pelicans
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 pelicans.
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 zoo.

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.
:::snip:::
http://www.herald-review.com/articles/2005/04/09/news/local_news/1007157

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White pelicans

• 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 nest.
• 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, www.fws.gov
Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
http://www.startribune.com/stories/462/5325850.html

  White pelicans at Chase Lake refuge — Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service http://www.startribune.com/stories/462/5325851.html, Pub. April 2, 2005

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Surprise hummers, pelicans pop up
By MARCIA DAVIS, tennwren@aol.com
April 1, 2005
:::snip:::
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.
...
http://www.knoxnews.com/kns/lifestyles_columnists/article/0,1406,KNS_337_3664742,00.html

Posted 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 WETLANDS

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.''
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/local/11284518.htm

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April 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 area.
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.
http://www.pahrumpvalleytimes.com/2005/04/01/sports/migration.html

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Keeping 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 winter digs.
"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 and characteristics.
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 weeks.
"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 nests.
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," he said.
(Reach Richard Hinton at 250-8256 or outdoors@bismarcktribune.net.)

http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2005/04/01/news/local/nws01.txt

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