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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 is also occasional news of other endangered bird species. The hope is especially for support for the "Santa Barbara 12": by appreciating pelicans and other endangered birds world-wide, we can appreciate and support even more those 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 and a paragraph or so. The 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.

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January, 2005 news about pelicans from around the world

Reward offered

Long way from normal-winter-home sightings

Arizona | California oil spill 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 | CO to TX | Florida | Galveston deaths | IBRRC | India 1, 2 | LA pelis return | Mexico oil spill 1, 2 | Morro Bay petition | Sea World | Winnapaug Pond, RI 1, 2 | Turkey |

Daytona Beach, FL News-Journal Online, January 27

Rehabbers raise concerns about bird sanctuary
News-Journal Online.comUSA - In a stately procession Tuesday morning, staff and volunteers at the Marine Science Center carried pet kennels to the shore. One contained two brown pelicans who'd arrived at the center's Mary Keller Seabird Rehabilitation Sanctuary severely underweight. Now they were fat and ready to fly.

But after weeks of convalescing they were reluctant to leave the kennel. Rachelle LeBlanc, a sanctuary employee, secured the pelicans by the beak and pulled them out toward the sand -- and freedom. After a wobbly first few steps, each pelican took off. A gull, also released Tuesday after its broken wing had healed, gave itself a bath before it, too, soared into a cloudless sky.

It was the very definition of a feel-good moment.

Yet the sanctuary has had a few feel-bad ones. Ever since it opened in June, local bird rehabilitators have complained to Volusia County that the sanctuary, which cost taxpayers $463,000 to build, isn't doing enough for seabirds. Its staff members are inaccessible, they said, and its hours of operation are far too limited.
Marine Science Center officials say they have responded to the complaints. "We knew we had some problems and we fixed them," said John Crisp, who oversees the center for the county.

One stated purpose of the spacious new sanctuary was to relieve home rehabbers of caring for large seabirds like pelicans, which take up a lot of room and eat a lot of food. But so far, the rehabbers say, that hasn't happened.

:::snip::: (long article)


Migratory birds at Pulicat and Nelapattu lakes

CHENNAI: Tourists and bird lovers are in for a treat as Flamingoes from as far away as Siberia and Rann of Kutch along with grey Pelicans will be seen at Pulicat and Nelapattu lakes in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh from Friday, just as the fourth edition of the three day 'Flamingo' festival gets underway.
About 600 Flamingos and Pelicans, the latter numbering only 11,000 in the world, have already arrived at the two lakes, Nellore Divisional Forest Officer, Nellore P V Chalapathi Rao and G Babu Rao, consultant Architect, Andhra Pradesh tourism department told reporters here.
Besides taking tourists to areas where the birds are located, a boat race has also been organised on both lakes. Tourists could also use binoculars and enlist the help of a guide at the tourist office at Sullupet, which has small hotels, Babu Rao said.
He said an eco-friendly resort and a family entertainment resort at Pulicat would soon come up, at a cost of Rs one crore each, to augment the facilities.
Chalapathi Rao said one would also see Grey Herons, Painted Storks, spoonbill sea gulls and sand pipers, besides flamingoes, at Pulicat lake.
At Nelapattu lake, one can also spot migratory birds like Openbilled Storks, White Ibises, and Night Herons, he said. Pulicat Lake is the second largest brackish water lagoon in India, spread over a 600 sq km area.


State bird returning to Louisiana license plates
New pelican design to be standard for cars

By The Associated Press, 1/23/05

Louisiana's state bird, which disappeared from state license plates about the time pesticides wiped it out in the wild, will soon be back. The brown pelican left the plates in 1963, when Louisiana went from six digits to seven, eliminating its central space. One year earlier, the last wild brown pelican nest had been found in Louisiana.
The pesticides DDT, which weakened eggshells so they broke before they could hatch, and endrin, which also caused enormous fish kills in state waters, were blamed.
The state began bringing fledgling pelicans in from Florida in 1968. For the past six years, state biologists have counted 13,000 to 16,000 nests and 20,000 to 34,000 fledglings each spring.

Louisiana changed license plates from one letter and six numbers to three letters and three numbers in 1993.
The Legislature voted last year to bring back the pelican once 120,000 plates stamped with the Louisiana Purchase bicentennial logo ran out. That will happen in the next month or two, Office of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Michelle Rayburn said Friday.
The new plates feature what looks like a grayish photograph of a pelican on a flat-topped piling in the center. Behind it, orange-brown colors lighten through yellows as they rise from the bottom, fading to white at a central "horizon". "It looks like a sunset," Rayburn said.
The new design will be the standard plate for cars, minivans and sport utility vehicles.


Pelican Takes DIA Flight South For Winter
Larimer Humane Society Sends Big Bird To Texas

The plight of a pelican rescued in Larimer County takes a new turn. The bird is flying south for the winter but not by his own wing power.
The journey for the American white pelican began two months ago when the big bird was rescued from a lake in Windsor, partially frozen and unable to fly south.
"I don't know if he clipped a barbed wire fence or was attacked. There were no other wounds, it's really kind of strange," said Janice Crick, with the Larimer County Humane Society.
The pelican was boarded on a plane Wednesday, heading to a wildlife center in Texas. He'll be there in part for rehabilitation, but it's also because he's becoming very expensive for the Larimer Humane Society to keep around.
"He's about $100 a week to feed -- it's a lot of fish, about four or five pounds a day," said Bob Nightwalker, with the Larimer Humane Society.
The flight from Denver International Airport to San Antonio will take about four or five hours, and you never know if this pelican will be back next year.


Posted on Sat, Jan. 15, 2005
Petition calls for a restriction on bird hunting in White Pelican habitat
A local business owner is seeking support to further limit hunting in the estuary to three days a week during the season, instead of the seven that are currently allowed
Lindsay Christians
The Tribune

A Morro Bay woman who runs a kayak rental business is rallying support for limiting bird hunting in the estuary.
Hunters come from all over San Luis Obispo County and elsewhere to shoot brant geese and other waterfowl for sport and food at the Morro Bay National Estuary -- a place where fresh water and salt water mix, creating a unique habitat for thousands of birds....

"I'm trying to be realistic and present an option that has a chance of being ratified and will take us in a positive direction toward limiting hunting on the estuary," she said.
She argues that two weekdays plus Sundays should be plenty of time for hunting.
She also wants to protect birds on the grass islands, small knots of land on the border between the Morro Bay city limits and the hunting area.
Currently, some parts of those islands are in the hunting area, Davis said.
White pelicans and a myriad of other birds feed on the eelgrass there, she said, and it's one of the most popular places for visitors to see. ...

Davis asked the Morro Bay City Council on Monday for a letter supporting her changes, but it declined.
The city has declared itself a bird sanctuary, but the hunting at issue occurs outside city limits.
Davis is seeking support for her cause from Los Osos Community Services District board, as well as the Sierra Club, the Morro Bay National Estuary Program and the county Board of Supervisors.
Davis hopes to have a packet of petitions and letters of support ready for the state Fish and Game Commission meeting in June.
Hunting regulations for the next season are scheduled to be set at the commission's meeting in August, which is scheduled to be in Morro Bay.
Davis said petitions will be available soon at 2 Dogs Coffee Co., Blue Skye Cafe, Bayside Cafe, Coalesce Bookstore, Sunshine Health Foods, the Rock Kayak shop, Kayak Horizons or the State Park Marina -- all in Morro Bay.


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Telltale 'fingerprints' can lead chemists to sources of oil spills
By Carrie Peyton Dahlberg -- Sacramento Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PST Monday, January 31, 2005

Dark as coffee grounds, opaque as ink, oil gives up its secrets like a startled child - where it's come from, what it's been through and who it's been mixed up with.
It is a substance that can be coaxed into revealing almost everything about its past.
Sometimes, it will answer the most telling question of all for investigators hunting for the source of a baffling oil spill: Where is your twin?
That's the question three chemists at the state's Petroleum Chemistry Laboratory in Rancho Cordova are putting, over and over, to oil cleaned from bird feathers, scraped off buoys and tracked along riverbanks in Ventura County.
That spill, from some still-unknown source, slid into the Santa Clara River and then tumbled on to the sea earlier this month, killing 1,225 birds counted by rescuers and perhaps 10 times more that died unseen.
Before the worst dissipated, the spill fatally oiled more birds than any slick along California shores since 1986, according to officials with the UC Davis-led bird rescue effort. The state Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Coast Guard both are seeking the spill's source.
Knowing where the oil came from can speed and improve cleanup efforts. Equally important, it can pinpoint who should get the bill.


Mysterious Oil Patches Take Big Toll on Seabirds
Up to 5,000 avians have been harmed, the most in the state since a spill off the coast in 1990
By Amanda Covarrubias and Kenneth R. Weiss
Times Staff Writers
January 21, 2005
A mysterious weeklong oil leak off Southern California has damaged more wildlife than any spill in state coastal waters since 1990, officials said Thursday as they struggled to find its source.
Dead or oiled seabirds are now turning up on beaches from Santa Barbara to Huntington Beach, with estimates that as many as 5,000 birds may have been coated with the black goo. So far, nearly 1,400 birds have been retrieved since the first grebes washed ashore in Ventura County a week ago.
What makes the situation so perplexing is that wildlife officials are overrun by birds, but have not found a major telltale slick on the water or tar balls washing ashore.
"It's a tough nut to crack," said Dana Michaels, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Fish and Game. "It's not like there's a big slick someplace and we can say, 'That's the responsible party.' This is a real mystery."
Not knowing where the leak is coming from makes it impossible for experts to determine how much oil is out there and for people treating the injured wildlife to know whether the worst is over.


Further complicating matters, she said, is that the oil from birds has degraded from the weather, making it more difficult to analyze. So far chemists have been unable to determine if oil on the birds' feathers is crude or refined.
The closest match is consistent with a natural seepage from a spot called Coal Oil Point on the UC Santa Barbara campus at Isla Vista, she said.
Officials said the spill has damaged more wildlife than any other spill in California coastal waters in 15 years, when 3,400 birds died after the 1990 American Trader spill off the Orange County coast.
Mazet said the toll of this leak could exceed the American Trader spill and be the worst in California involving marine life since 1986, when a barge sloshed oil into San Francisco Bay, killing 10,500 seabirds.


SeaWorld Treating Birds Caught In Mystery Oil Spill
Endangered Species Found Oiled Off Los Angeles County Coast

UPDATED: 6:19 pm PST January 20, 2005
SAN DIEGO -- Investigators are trying to find the cause of an oil spill that coated hundreds of birds with crude oil and may threaten other sea life, 10News reported.Oil-slicked pelicans have been rushed to SeaWorld for treatment while teams of experts assess the damage.
Animal rescue groups are searching out and corralling birds coated with crude oil from what's now being dubbed the "Ventura Mystery Spill."
One official told 10News the birds lose their ability to keep themselves warm when they're oiled.
Smaller birds have been scooped off affected beaches and treated, while larger, endangered pelicans are now arriving at SeaWorld for emergency care.
Lauren Dubois, from SeaWorld, said, "When they have oil on their feathers they preen and don't take time to eat or drink, so they become emaciated."
SeaWorld staff members have been feeding the weakened birds fluids and juicy smelt for those ready for solid food.
"Once clean we dry them off, we leave them outside to get warmed up, fed and make sure they're stable so they can be released in the next few weeks," Dubois said.
The state is still trying to find the source of the oil spill. Once it finds the responsible party, the state will be sending a bill for cleanup and animal rescue efforts.
SeaWorld is one of 25 organizations statewide that participate in the Oiled Wildlife Care Network. For a slideshow: http://www.10news.com/news/4113994/detail.html


UC Davis (press release) - January 20, 2005
UC Davis Experts Say Oil Spill Is World's Worst for Birds Since 2002

UC Davis wildlife experts leading the rescue of oiled seabirds along the Southern California coast say this oil spill has been the worst worldwide for wildlife in more than two years, harming more birds than any spill since the 2002 wreck of the tanker Prestige off Spain's coast.

Since Wednesday, Jan. 12, UC Davis veterinarians, staff members and volunteers have picked up nearly 1,400 oiled birds on the coast between Santa Barbara and Huntington Beach. Of those birds, 612 were dead or so sick they were humanely killed. Oiled birds are continuing to arrive daily at the UC Davis-run rescue center in San Pedro.

Jonna Mazet, a UC Davis veterinarian and international authority on the rescue and treatment of oiled wildlife, said today that studies of previous spills and their effects have concluded that for every oiled seabird that is found washed ashore, there are about 10 to 100 birds that died at sea.


Most of the injured birds being collected in the California spill are western grebes, which are large, striking, black-and-white birds with long, thin, yellow bills that the birds use to catch small fish in near shore waters. At this time of year, western grebes are often seen swimming along the Pacific Coast, from southeast Alaska to central Mexico.
Western grebes are listed as a California "species of special concern" because of population declines at some breeding sites.
Other oil-soaked seabirds that have been treated include Clark's grebes, eared grebes, loons, brown pelicans, and a Brandt's cormorant and a surf scoter.



Saturday, January 15, 2005
Bird-rescue facility gets its 1st major test
Almost 400 oil-soaked grebes are brought to San Pedro for treatment. Volunteer help is needed.

By Lee Peterson
Daily Breeze
January Bill gently slides a flexible tube down the throat of a western grebe, and feeds the oily, red-eyed seabird 60 cc of warm Pedialyte.
With nearly 400 oil-tainted grebes jammed into the International Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro by Friday afternoon, this "tubing" procedure is something that Bill and the other workers will be doing about 3,200 times a day, to make sure each animal is fed eight times each 24 hours.
Oil-soaked birds from a mysterious spill to the north started arriving Thursday, kicking off what will be the first major emergency bird-care operation for the facility at Fort MacArthur, the first real test of its capabilities to deal with the mass wildlife casualties of a major oil spill.
Officials put out a plea for volunteers, even those people who may not have experience in handling wild birds.
The spill of unknown origin was discovered only this week with the discovery of oiled birds on beaches from Santa Barbara to Santa Monica. Authorities don't know if it's a happenstance of the recent rainstorm and mudslide in Ventura County or if it came about from some other accident.
But the spill is exactly the reason the rescue center in San Pedro, opened in 2001 by the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, was built.
"We specifically designed this place for oil spills. What we are finding out now is how good of an architect we were," said Michael Ziccardi, director of the network, which is part of the Wildlife Health Center at the University of California, Davis.
Nearly all of the oiled birds are grebes, and most of them are not injured other than by the oil.
Ziccardi said the first order of business is to warm and feed the birds. After they are at the center for 48 hours, volunteers will start the painstaking cleaning.
It will take two volunteers about 35 minutes to clean the oil off one bird, and another 35 minutes to rinse off the soap, Ziccardi said.
Every speck of oil has to be removed.
As aquatic birds, the grebes rely on their feathers to hold a layer of air around their bodies for warmth. It doesn't take much oil to allow the chilly ocean to seep in, which can lead to hypothermia and death. Before these birds get to the center's rehab pools, they must be clean.
"Even a drop of oil, once we get them in the pools, the water can wick into the skin and get them cold," Ziccardi said.

Given the good shape of the first wave of birds, Ziccardi said that the operation has been fairly successful in getting the birds out of the environment quickly and into the hands of rescue workers.

Source of Oil Spill Remains a Mystery
By Steve Chawkins, LA Times Staff Writer
January 15, 2005
Authorities were no closer Friday to finding the source of the oil that has coated hundreds of seabirds off Southern California.
More than 350 Western grebes and pelicans have been taken to a facility in San Pedro where veterinarians cleaned their feathers of dark, heavy goo. At least eight of the birds died, said Rob Hughes, a spokesman for the state Department of Fish and Game.
Meanwhile, many more affected birds have been sighted in coastal waters.
"There's a source out there and we just can't seem to find it," Hughes said.
State officials initially said a mudslide in Ventura County's Icebox Canyon ruptured a Vintage Oil pipeline. However, they said Friday it was unclear whether the pipeline south of La Conchita had ruptured.
Officials also didn't know if the mudslide at La Conchita that killed 10 people dumped oil into the nearby ocean.
A mile-long oil sheen observed Thursday at Platform Holly off Goleta in Santa Barbara County raised alarms among environmental activists, but state officials said the location was too far north to account for the oiled birds, most of which have been spotted off beaches from Ventura to Santa Monica.
The sheen apparently rose to the surface from the underwater oil seeps that are common in the area, said Bill Morrison, a spokesman for the State Lands Commission. It may have continued to grow because seas in the area had been unusually calm for a couple of days.


See also: http://www.venturacountystar.com/vcs/county_news/article/0,1375,VCS_226_3470769,00.html
Sea birds are turning up covered with oil
By Jessica Keating, jkeating@VenturaCountyStar.com
January 14, 2005
Heavy rains that battered California earlier this week may be responsible for hundreds of oil-covered birds discovered along the coastline between Santa Barbara and Venice, state officials said Thursday.
Wildlife rescue teams fished more than 100 birds, mostly western grebes, from the sea off the coast of Ventura County, where the largest concentration of birds has been spotted.

:::snip::: Note: the Ventura Star is a subscription/free online registration paper

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Seabirds Victims of Mystery Oil Spill
The source might be a pipeline break or slide at La Conchita. Many birds are drifting ashore.

By Steve Chawkins, LA Times Staff Writer
January 14, 2005
More than 500 seabirds off the Southern California coast have been coated with oil from what authorities described Thursday as a "mystery spill."
Many of the birds have drifted onto beaches between Santa Barbara and Venice, said Dana Michaels, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Fish and Game's pollution division. None have been found dead.
Biologists have not yet pinpointed the source of the oil that mired the birds, most of them Western grebes and pelicans. Observers in airplanes have scanned the ocean for clues, and samples of oil from the birds' feathers are being shipped to laboratories for analysis.
"We're not ruling anything out at this point," Michaels said.
The massive La Conchita mudslide may have contributed to a mile-long oily sheen spotted offshore afterward, she said. In addition, a nearby mudslide at Icebox Canyon broke a transmission line used by Vintage Oil, sending about 25 barrels of oil — or 1,050 gallons — downstream in a torrent of mud and debris.
The company shut down the pipeline as soon as its equipment detected a drop in pressure, Michaels said.
Other sources might include cars and trucks swept into flooding streams.
"There's probably a real goulash of different kinds of oils out there," Michaels said.
John Romero, a spokesman for the federal Minerals Management Service, said no leaks were reported from any of the offshore oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel.
Volunteers fanned out Thursday over beaches, picking up injured birds and taking them to the Oiled Bird Care and Education Center in San Pedro. ( Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care and Education Center, 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro)
Officials warned the public not to approach the oiled birds, pointing out that grebes have particularly sharp beaks. They advised people who came across the birds to call (562) 342-7222


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Nana and the pelicans need help
Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Environment-friendly Turkish liraGül Nana and her three pelicans were stuck in their home because of the heavy snow
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News  Kzhanm Sarçayr, living in the Akçakale village of Ardahan's Çldr district and known as Gül Nana among the villagers, got stuck in her home with her three pelicans because of heavy snow.
  The cute, winged family members are named after Gül Nana's three grandchildren: Kubilay, Ulas¸ and Arzu. Gül Nana (70), who has managed a fish restaurant on her father's land in Akçakale since retiring from Istanbul University Medical Faculty Hospital, said she bought three fish nets for fishing and feeding her children.
Fish nets disappeared

  Because of the heavy snow, we all got stuck at home. I decided to climb out the window to clean the snow and open the door for my children, Gül Nana said. I had to feed my pelicans, but when I went to the lakeside I noticed that my fish nets were gone. I think they either fell in the lake or somebody stole them.

I didn't know what to do. My kids eat one kilo of fish every day, she said. Gül Nana has been raising the three pelicans for eight years. Although pelicans are migrant birds, they have continued to stay with Gül Nana.

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From: http://ibrrc.org/veracruz_spill.htm

Veracruz oil spill update
Broken Pemex oil pipeline soaks birds and animals along the Gulf of Mexico

Updated: Jan. 12, 2005 11:03 AM PST
A stubborn oil spill along the coast near Veracruz, Mexico has affected hundreds of birds and animals. So far 149 birds have been captured by joint IBRRC/IFAW Emergency Response (ER) Team. The spill occurred on December 22, 2004.
As the bird aviaries are being constructed on the waters edge near the Coatzacoalcos River, dozens of Pelicans and other seabirds fly overhead or sit around on the tops of the nearby buildings watching the activities going on below. Most of them appear to be oiled.
“We have about 100 birds in-house and another 400 on-house!” said Jay Holcomb co-director of the ER Team, trying to add some humor to a very trying experience.
According to Paul Kelway of the ER Team, the group has been capturing large numbers of pelicans on a daily basis simply by baiting them in. Most are in good condition and all are eating well so the turnaround is likely to be quite quick.

A total of 24 birds were washed yesterday and are now in one of the outdoor aviaries. Washing continues today. There is also a large team of workers hired by Pemex constructing more aviaries, which should mean that the team will be able to cope as the numbers increase.
Almost 150 live animals have now been admitted. Of these 8 have been released and 47 washed. The list of species to date includes Pelicans, Laughing Gulls, herons, snakes and box turtles as well as a hawk, kingfisher, iguana and a water turtle. The numbers are likely to rise further over the coming days.

All five new team members are now on site so the ER Team is now 13 people strong. There has also been great support from the University of Veracruz and a number of students will be volunteering for the next 2 weeks.

:::snip::: visit the IBRRC site for pictures of the pelicans, rehabbers and Veracruz area map. (And see below for more background information.)


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Pelican perking up during stay at Rhode Island's Winnapaug Pond
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
By KATIE MULVANEY, Journal Staff Writer
WESTERLY -- The pelican visiting the shores of Winnapaug Pond has pepped up considerably over the past week. Observers have seen it swim, fish and fly in the last few days -- a vast change from its lethargic appearance a week ago.
"I swear to God it looks like a small airplane," said Jeffrey Gardner, who raises oysters and clams in the pond. At 9 feet across, the wingspan of the American white pelican is larger than that of a bald eagle.
Yesterday the pelican preened its feathers and stood watch on the same spit of land it has occupied in a protected cove for almost two weeks. Occasionally, it stretched its massive yellow bill.
A week ago, it scarcely moved, sitting for hours with its bill tucked under its wing.
"We were very happy to see it eat," said Gardner, owner of Watch Hill Oysters. "It's been swimming around pretty aggressively."
Wildlife officials believe the pelican was blown off course by a storm during its migration south and has picked the protected cove as a good place to rest and refuel. It is thought to be the same bird spotted in mid-December near Patience Island in Narragansett Bay.
American white pelicans breed as far north as central Canada during the summer. In the winters, they migrate south to the Gulf Coast and are rarely seen north of Florida.

Male and female pelicans have similar plumage, so naturalists can't tell the sex of Winnapaug Pond's visitor. Since its appearance, the bird has likely dined on bait fish that inhabit the brackish waters. It has been joined in Winnapaug Pond by a seal -- the first Gardner has seen there in his 27 years on Shore Road.
"The bird is doing well," said Mike Tucker, a refuge manager with the Audubon Society of Rhode Island. "It seems to be doing better." And more warm weather appears in store for the fair-weather pelican. Temperatures are expected to climb into the 60s by Thursday.
Katie Mulvaney can be reached by e-mail at kmulvaneXXXXprojo.com or by phone at 277-7417.

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Waves wash away salt pans full of history — migratory birds and deer give warning

Vedaranyam, India. Jan. 9: The salt workers here saw the rare birds taking flight about “half-an-hour before” the first tsunami struck but they did not know enough to save the historic salt pans.
“The tsunami came so stealthily. None of us knew this phenomenon,” said A. Vedaratnam, president of the Vedaranyam Salt Manufacturers and Merchants Association.
“But somehow the hundreds of spotted deer and black bucks in the wildlife sanctuary at Point Calimere and thousands of migratory birds that come every October-March seemed to know what was coming. They had all left for safer havens shortly before the tsunami struck,” he said.
From Vedaranyam to Point Calimere, the southernmost tip of Tamil Nadu’s worst-hit Nagapattinam district, 2,500 marshy acres close to the sea are worked for salt-making ....

Nearly 2,000 deer, he said, fled to safety westwards from the “huge frothy waves that went up to 1,500 metres” because “otherwise we would have found a number of dead deer there after the attack”.
A worker at a salt factory near the bird sanctuary had a similar tale to tell. He said that some 30 minutes before the tsunamis crashed on the shore, “I saw an army of cows moving rapidly from the shore towards the hinterland. I could not guess why”.
“Then, flocks of a variety of birds in the lake, over 2,000 of them, suddenly began to take off skywards in groups, the likes of which we have never seen before.
“Perhaps they had a warning system to go by.
We have not seen birds in any large number at Point Calimere this year,” he added.
Flamingos are the most important among the varieties of winged visitors to Point Calimere, a picturesque sanctuary and the point where the Bay of Bengal curves westwards into the Palk Strait. They come from far-off places like Iran and the Caspian Sea as also the Rann of Kutch every year. Others that flock to the sanctuary are pelicans, white ibis, grey heron, open bill stork, painted stork and little stork.

 Copyright © 2002 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.

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Rescue Center releases three rehabilitated brown pelicans
Friday, January 07, 2005
By VIRGINIA LANGUMOCEAN SPRINGS -- Three brown pelicans were released on Thursday by the Wildlife Care and Rescue Center. They were the first birds to benefit from a 60 foot-long cage recently constructed by Mississippi Power for the Rescue Center in Woolmarket.
Birds are placed in the cage to build up their flight muscles before being released in the wild, said Center Director Alison Sharpe.
Sharpe and 18 other volunteers rehabilitate injured wildlife from all across South Mississippi. Most animals come from Jackson and Harrison counties. Two of the pelicans released Thursday came from Jackson County, one not far from the beach in Ocean Springs where it flew off. Sharpe found the pelicans on U.S. 90 just east of Miss. 57. The two birds were starving. Sharpe said she sees many pelicans after a cold snap. "A lot of young birds have a problem adjusting to a dramatic temperature change," she said. "They have a lot of trouble finding food."
Volunteers de-worm the birds, feed them, and then set them free. The process generally takes two weeks.
The center has taken in seven pelicans in the past month. The annual average is 20.

The third pelican, which was found on top of a car outside the Cinemark Cinema in Gulfport with a fishing hook embedded in its wing, took about a month to heal.
This bird was a little more reluctant than the other two to fly off on Thursday.
"I always watch them take flight before I leave to make sure they can do it," Sharpe said.
People who come across injured or abandoned wildlife are urged to contact the Wildlife Care and Rescue Center immediately at (228) 392-7591.
Reporter Virginia Langum can be reached at vlangum-@themississippipress.com or (228) 875-8144. http://www.gulflive.com/news/mississippipress/index.ssf?/base/news/1105096501254025.xml

Environmental regulators say wildlife weathered oil spill on Gulf coast of Mexico
By: MORGAN LEE - Associated Press; Thursday, January 6
MEXICO CITY -- Environmental prosecutors on Wednesday said almost no wildlife was killed in a recent crude-oil spill on a river feeding the Gulf of Mexico, while environmental activists accused Mexico's state oil company of concealing the extent of damages.
The oil spilled from a ruptured pipeline into the Coatzacoalcos River on Dec. 22 following an explosion at a pumping station near Santiago Tuxtla, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) east-southeast of Mexico City. The blast caused a burst of high pressure that ruptured the oil line 70 miles (110 kilometers) away in Nanchital, just south of the Gulf port city of Coatzacoalcos.
Environmental law-enforcement officials have surveyed the area but are waiting for a report later this month on the extent of the damages from a local university contracted by Mexican state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex. A separate report on the cause of the spill is due next week.
"To date, we have not detected a single dead specimen," said Adrian Vazquez, deputy federal prosecutor for natural resources. "The only thing they've reported to us from the people working in the field is a seagull and a pair of water snakes that were lost. But, yes, the impact in terms of mortality has been practically zero."
The spill affected a river and coastline besieged for decades by industrial pollution from nearby oil and petrochemical operations. Regulators estimate that 95 percent of the 5,000 barrels spilled had been recuperated as of Tuesday, but that oil-soaked earth and vegetation remained.
Damages to mangrove swamps near the spill site was limited, Vazquez said.
Meanwhile, the environmental group Greenpeace Mexico on Wednesday reported more extensive damage to flora and fauna and accused Pemex of downplaying the severity of the spill.
Marisa Jacott of Greenpeace said she saw three kinds of birds dead during a five-day tour of the spill area, and that rocks on the Coatzacoalcos River were being whitewashed with a cleaning agent.
"This is not remediating," she said.
Officials from Mexico's environmental prosecutor's office insisted that no detergents or chemical agents were being used in the cleanup. Greenpeace officials said the damage assessment should be carried out by experts outside Veracruz, the Gulf-coast state dominated by the government-controlled oil industry, and they questioning the motives for Pemex's hiring of local fishermen to assist in the initial cleanup.
"This is a way also to control the fishermen," Jacott said. "They haven't been able to raise a hand against Pemex because it's been paying them."
Regulators have opened a criminal investigation against Pemex and still could fine it as much as US$200,000 (euro148,000) for the spill. Greenpeace Mexico director Alejandro Calvillo pointed out that a fine against a government-owned oil concern will be of little consolation to Mexicans. "We are going to pay for all of this supposed remediation," he said. "We are paying millions of pesos that are just being used to hide the problem."
Two inspectors and a local delegate of the environmental prosecutor's office are supervising the massive cleanup of oil that spread along 40 kilometers (25 miles) of the Gulf coast. The cleanup effort involved about 1,500 people during the initial stages.
Regulators said wildlife recuperation efforts are focused on a colony of about 400 pelicans in the area. Shelters are inspecting and cleaning pelicans that still may be affected by surface oil as they swim or dip into the water to scoop up fish.
Environmental Attorney General Jose Luis Luege reiterated long-standing concerns that environmental regulators lack the funding to properly inspect Pemex facilities and that the oil company needs to install automated shut-off valves to respond faster to emergencies.
Editions of the North County Times Serving San Diego and Riverside Counties

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Officials investigate bird deaths
By TJ Aulds, Published January 5, 2005
GALVESTON — Thirteen more pelicans were found along the beach on the Island’s West End late Monday. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officers have discovered 24 dead birds along the beaches since Monday.
“I am going to be contacting our resource protection (division) to advise them to monitor the area,” said Capt. Eddie Tanuz, who heads the department’s Galveston County office. “Hopefully this will be an isolated incident.”
The department’s resource protection division investigates instances where natural resources are threatened or have been damaged. Most cases involved chemical spills or other man-made situations that lead to bird or fish kills, or damage to natural habitats, Tanuz said.
“When we have a bird kill like this, they will get involved because they have more research equipment to look into it,” he said.
But, if the birds found Monday are any indication, investigators won’t have much to work with. Most experienced high levels of decay.
“They really need to be fresh or in distress for a good test,” said Tanuz.
The 13 birds found Monday evening were spread over the beach area between 8 Mile Road and Jamaica Beach, said Tanuz. Eleven birds, including six terns, found Monday morning were found in similar parts of the beach, but stretched to San Luis Pass.
Tanuz suspects the bird kill can be directly linked to last week’s cold snap that brought several inches of snow to the region. The cold weather and indications that the birds were young indicate that the kill is not likely to be because of a man-made incident.
“I still believe it’s an isolated incident, but we will be monitoring closely to be very sure,” he said.


Island birds found dead
By TJ AuldsPublished January 4, 2005
GALVESTON — Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officers discovered at least 11 pelicans and terns along the beaches of Galveston’s West End on Monday, and said the snow that was a welcomed sight Christmas weekend may be to blame.
“These birds, when it gets cold like the cold we had at Christmas, tend to gather and huddle, because the cold affects them pretty good,” said Capt. Eddie Tanuz, who heads the department’s Galveston County office. “The weather gets them, and they die and wash up. It’s not that uncommon.”
Tanuz said game wardens found five pelicans and six terns along the beaches between 8 Mile Road and the San Luis Pass on Monday. Reports came into his office of more birds late in the day and crews were to go back out and check the area this morning.
“There is nothing at this time to give us an indication that this was a bird kill because of pesticides,” Said Tanuz. “None of the birds found had signs of any type of weapon or bullet damage.”
His assessment? The cold weather over the holiday weekend was the most likely culprit based on the decay of the birds’ remains.
“They were spread out throughout the whole beach and in different stages of decay,” said Tanuz. “That leads us to believe that this was more weather related than anything else.
“We will still be monitoring the situation to see if that changes.”
Reports on the dead birds came in from Galveston police, the Galveston County Health District and animal rehabilitator Trudy Belz. Belz, a well-known birder who lives in Texas City, received several reports about dead birds.
She said such reports were not unusual this time of the year, but the larger numbers also made her think the weather had a lot to do with their discovery.
“They are hatched in Louisiana and come here for the winter,” said Belz. “This wasn’t the weather they expected.” Belz said that while the weather may have played a role in their demise, it is likely many had a run in with anglers.“ (The birds) see those silver lures and go after the fish, and next thing you know, it’s hooked,” she said. Belz said most anglers would just cut their line and let the bird go. “It’s not the fisherman’s fault. They don’t want to pull that bird into the boat. (The birds) just fly off and look beautiful, but that’s not the case.
“A hooked bird is a dead bird.”
Belz predicted that more birds would be found in larger numbers within two weeks. Many will have bands on their legs for researchers following migration patterns and life spans.
“That’s the way it works most of the time,” she said. “We see a few, then the larger numbers come up.”

http://www.galvnews.com/story.lasso?ewcd=ca0d247e52c0f802 Texas' Oldest Newspaper; http://galvestondailynews.com; Copyright © 2005 The Galveston County Daily News

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Pelican resting up at Winnapaug Pond
As long as conditions don't become too severe, the wayward visitor is expected to fare well.

10:00 AM EST on Tuesday, January 4, 2005 by KATIE MULVANEY, Providence Journal Staff Writer
WESTERLY -- Ethan Bisbee didn't believe it when he heard that a pelican had hunkered down in Winnapaug Pond -- far, far from its tropical winter retreat. But sure enough, an American white pelican has rested, bill tucked under its wing, in a cove off Shore Road since Wednesday.
Bisbee and his wife, Susan, now keep a telescope trained on the striking white bird, which spends most of its time huddled on a tiny spit of land that juts into the water.
"I haven't seen it move; I haven't seen it fly," Bisbee said yesterday on the porch of his Shore Road home, just as the bird lifted its head and stretched its large yellow bill.
Wildlife officials believe the pelican was blown off course by a storm during migration and has picked the coastal pond as a good place to rest and refuel.
Thought to be the same bird photographed Dec. 19 near Patience Island,in Narragansett Bay, the pelican occasionally leaves its spot, most likely to dine on bait fish near shore. It is sometimes joined by great blue herons.
"Winnapaug Pond's a great spot," said Mike Tucker, a refuge manager with the Audubon Society of Rhode Island. Pelicans "eat when they have to eat and save energy in between."
Weighing about 16 pounds and with wings spanning 9 feet, American white pelicans breed as far north as central Canada in the summer. During the winter, they migrate south to the Gulf Coast and are rarely seen north of Florida on the East Coast. "It's been quite the buzz among birders," Tucker said.
American white pelicans, pelecanus erythrorhynchos, have been sighted nine times in Rhode Island since 1900, Tucker said. The last sighting came in September 1996 near Old Harbor on Block Island. In 1994, a pair frequented the docks in Galilee for much of what was a bitter winter. A brown pelican, commonly seen dramatically diving for fish in Florida, was spotted five years ago on the breakwater on Block Island.
Conservationists remained optimistic yesterday about the latest pelican's chances.
"It certainly can survive as long as the conditions don't get too extreme and it can find food," Tucker said.

Katie Mulvaney can be reached at kmulvane [at] projo.com or 277-7417.
Digital Extra: Web sites that call to birders: Online at: http://www.projo.com/news/content/projo_20050104_pelican4.92e5a.html

For two fine white pelican photos: http://www.projo.com/news/content/projo_20050104_pelican4.92e5a.html

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News Update, Saturday January 1, 2005
The pelican brief
By TK Sawyer, Tribune

The winter visitors who recently took up residence in Ocotillo probably wouldn’t take too much offense to being called "snowbirds." For one, they visit Arizona to escape winter’s harsher climates. And, probably most importantly . . . well, they’re birds.

Recently, avian biologists have noticed an increase in white pelicans wintering in Arizona, especially along the Salt and Gila rivers. Chandler’s Diana Braaten has also noticed. She said she recently counted 33 of the birds lounging around the pond at the Ocotillo community’s entrance.

"Why would a flock of pelicans be hanging out in a desert pond at Queen Creek and Price?" she asked.
Avian biologist Troy Corman said it’s not unusual for white pelicans to migrate through Arizona from Idaho, Montana and Utah in the late summer months. But why more and more are wintering here, that’s an unanswered question.

Biologists do know "they tend to go to areas that aren’t all that busy and will stay if they can find a big body of water," Corman said. These shy birds aren’t approachable, unless injured. Shy doesn’t mean antisocial, however. If you see one, you tend to see several, Corman said. "They are social birds and will forage together," Corman said. "They swim together and work together to corral fish."

For now, biologists aren’t concerned with the increased winter population of white pelicans coming to the Valley. They are keeping an eye out, however, on the numbers of their cousins, the endangered brown pelican. Last summer, a large number of brown pelicans were spotted trying to land on glaring asphalt the birds were mistaking for water. The birds are native to Mexico’s Sea of Cortez and are usually not spotted this far north.

"We aren’t sure if they’ll come back this year, or why they were even here last summer," Corman said, adding biologists suspect the birds may have had a particularly good breeding season and the increased population forced the birds to look elsewhere for food.


Blustery conditions don't stop avid N. County bird watchers
By Terry Rodgers 
December 31, 2004

What could possibly compel otherwise normal people to arise at dawn on a blustery winter morning to scan the skies for signs of life from the Pacific shoreline to the prickly chaparral?
Answer: An enduring American holiday tradition known as the Audubon Christmas Bird Count.
Phil Pryde, a retired geography professor, has participated in nearly 20 Christmas bird counts here.
"It's a form of recreation but there's a serious side to it, too," he said. "Compiling a long-term trend line, that's really the most important value of it."
For instance, white pelicans were a rarity along the San Diego County coastline. But in the past few years, more and more have shown up on the Christmas bird count. The partial collapse of the fishery at the Salton Sea in Imperial County, where the pelicans have been more numerous, could be forcing the birds to forage for food in a wider area, Pryde said.
Terry Rodgers: (619) 542-4566; terry.rodgers@uniontrib.com


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Long way from normal winter home sightings:

January 31 reports from Mary Powell-McConnell; Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, curator, Mammalogy and Ornithology:
In Sierra County: New Mexico, on January 15 an immature BROWN PELICAN was still
present at Elephant Butte Lake. It was at the Marina del Sur on tires beyond the boat hanger and seen also on January 21. It can fly and seems to move around the lake, so keep looking.

In Arizona, Phoenix area
There's been a group of up to almost 100 White Pelicans in the area for a couple of weeks.. They've been
coming and going from artificial lakes in Chandler just SE of Dobson and Queen Creek.

On Jan 31, 2005, On Saturday, January 29: A group of seven White Pelicans was seen flying over the community of Sun Lakes in extreme southern Phoenix. They appeared to settle down within the gated community. On Sunday we saw three White Pelicans flying over the 202 (Red Mountain Freeway) at Country Club Rd. in Mesa. We have spent the last four winters in the Phoenix area and these are the first White Pelicans we have seen in Maricopa County.
Chauncey & Sarah Wood


January 7, 2005
Puget Sound: A pair of brown pelicans that have been flying, perching or diving for fish since June in Budd Inlet, near Olympia, Wash., recently got front-page coverage in "The Olympian" newspaper and have prompted a number of calls to Seattle TV stations. Listed as an endangered species by the federal government in 1970, brown pelicans have been making a comeback in recent years and have been seen in increasing numbers on the Oregon and Washington coasts, said Kelly McAllister, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist. But the birds -- unmistakable with their long bills, expandable pouches and six-foot wingspans -- rarely are seen in Puget Sound, he said. "I've been doing this for a long time, and I've never seen or heard of one," said McAllister, adding that another biologist has seen a third pelican in the area. "This may be part of the population's natural expansion up the Washington Coast."
Roy Gault's weekly wildlife viewing report is compiled from telephone calls and emails to the Statesman Journal, from Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife department reports, and from various birders and Audubon Society reports. Gault can be reached at (503) 399-6723 or rgault@StatesmanJournal.com


From Mary Powell-McConnell; Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, curator, Mammalogy and Ornithology:

1/5: Bird line reports a BROWN PELICAN flying near the intersection of Ajo and Kinney Rd in west Tucson yesterday afternoon. This is near the (not open to birding) CAP water treatment plant and not so far as the Pelican soars from the Avra Valley WWTP on Snyder Hill Rd, Tucson, Arizona.

January 3, 2005: Adult Brown Pelican seen at Crystal Gardens in Avondale close to Sunset.(Avondale's about 15 miles west of downtown Phoenix on 1-10.) Location: W.Thomas and 111th Ave.s along Crystal Garden Blvd, second pond. It was reported to be flying around and catching fish.

The first pelican of 2005 arrived for care at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. That's unusually early in the year, perhaps because of the recent high winds. He/she travelled west (by road!) on Tuesday, January 4, to Sea World in San Diego for release back to the saltwater wilds.

Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 12:08:52 -0700
A BROWN PELICAN was observed flying to the southeast, a few miles south of
the I-8/I-10 interchange (Rob Magill fide Troy Corman).

(That would be between Phoenix and Tucson, South of Casa Grande, a long way from fish....)


Dec. 29 - Jan. 4 2004• Vol. 39, No. 13
San Francisco Bay Guardian
Being There
When we got to the lighthouse parking lot, it was relatively clear and calm, the Farallon Islands visible in the distant haze. On the beach below, cresting waves and sunlight produced a startling effect: dazzling rainbows that seemed to ride the waves as they broke. Near the lighthouse a handful of sea lions swam around the rocks, where dozens of cormorants and a few stray brown pelicans huddled in the wind. Most of the pelicans had already high-tailed it down to Baja for breeding, but a few stalwarts remained.
Katharine Mieszkowski, a senior writer for Salon.com, can be reached at km@salon.com.

Click here for RECENT 2006, pelican news

Click here for November-December, 2005 Pelican News (with links at the bottom of the page to the rest of 2005.)

Click here for December, 2004, pelican news (with links at the bottom of the page to the rest of 2004.)

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