for 2005, pelican news
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Archives | Callawassie
Island, SC | Channel Islands NP
- SB Island closed | Chandeleur Islands
| Chase Lake research budget woes
| Chase Lake research on pelican mystery
| Chase Lake pelicans return and More
Return | Cormorants in Green Bay, WI
| domoic acid |
domoic acid and LA video | Edwards
AFB rescued pelican | effects of 2005
FL storms | Goleta "Bird
Island" | Illinois | Lake
Tahoe, CA | No. Carolina pelican needs
ride to Miami! | Oregon | Pelicans
on Parade in Oregon | population migration
| Quad-City | S. Carolina
| West Nile in Montana | White
Pelicans in Illinois | Wyoming
photo for larger image)
by Tony Brown who was in charge of the Bird Island
project for BP/Richfield
islands," essential roosting platforms off Goleta,
California, being checked out in December by
some California Brown Pelicans.
Photo provided by Sally Bromfield.
Pelicans make surprise visit
April 29, 2006
Birders: Quick, grab your cameras and head to Lake Tahoe.
Early Thursday morning about 20 American white pelicans
were spotted on Buck's Beach in Crystal Bay.
The pelicans, listed by the California Department
of Fish and Game as the highest priority species of special
concern - a step below an endangered species - were perhaps
making their way north to their familiar nesting ground
along the Oregon border.
That they're stopping in the basin for awhile is both perplexing
and a pleasant surprise to local birders and ornithologists.
"They seem to go right over the Bay Area, over
Tahoe/Truckee and down into the (Pyramid Lake) region and
on up," said Deren Ross, an Auburn resident and president
of the Sierra Foothills chapter of the Audubon Society.
"I just think they don't put down very often in Tahoe.
For them to do this is pretty unusual."
Ross said the birds, as a general rule, like open bodies
of water with large beaches.
"Tahoe's a wooded place," he said. "Because
it's been an exceptionally wet year and the beaches aren't
as prevalent makes their arrival even less normal.
"It's possible to see white pelicans on nearly any
body of water along their migration route, but the North
Shore of Lake Tahoe is not as common as the other local
lakes and reservoirs. It's quite possible that they need
to rest or that they were looking for a good area to fish."
Last year about this time, the birds were seen on the South
Shore. Ornithologist Bruce Webb of Granite Bay said he cannot
recall having seen the birds in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
"I know they (migrate) through the area, but as far
as seeing them specifically on the lake, I cannot recall
any sightings," Webb said.
Indeed, the occurrence of the birds setting down in the
North Shore is a rare one at best according to the book
"Birds of the Lake Tahoe Region" written by Robert
T. Orr and James Moffitt.
"The spring migration route of White Pelicans
is from inland valleys or sea coast of central California
to its Great Basin breeding grounds and passes over the
Tahoe region," a passage reads.
William Dawson, author of "Birds of California"
described the prehistoric-looking birds in flight as "a
flying circus, in the days before human imitations had made
By Andrew Pridgen; http://www.theunion.com/article/20060429/NEWS/104290193
Wildlife viewing; April 28, 2006
Oregon Coast: ... Brown pelicans are on the move all
along the coast.
Oregon Statesman; http://tinyurl.com/fkkp2
More pelicans arrive at Chase Lake
Between 7,000 to 8,000 American white pelican nests at Chase
Lake National Wildlife Refuge mean 14,000 to 16,000 pelicans
have returned, researchers estimate.
Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey's Northern Prairie
Wildlife Research Center in Jamestown checked the island nesting
colonies last week, said Ken Torkelson, a spokesman for the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Bismarck office.
may be eggs, but they didn't want to get too close,"
he said Tuesday.
The migratory white birds are expected to continue arriving
for another month, researchers figure.
That's good news for Chase Lake, which has had its pelican
populations pull out prematurely the last two years. In 2004,
adult pelicans vanished, abandoning chicks and nest. Last
year, a chick die-off prompted the adults to leave their nests.
- Richard Hinton http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2006/04/26/news/local/113736.txt
Brown pelican down: Natural
Resources performs rescue
Blackanthem Military News, EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.,
April 25, 2006 16:46
||Mark Hagan, Edwards' Natural Resources manager, attends
to an injured, rare brown pelican on Edwards Air Force
Base April 12. The pelican was transported to the California
Wildlife Center in Calabasas, Calif., for rehabilitation.
(Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Julius Delos Reyes)
This was no wild goose chase.
To the contrary, when Mark Hagan chased down and caught
an injured brown pelican April 12, it struck at the heart
of his duties as Edwards' Natural Resources manager - protecting
the base's natural resources.
Rare everywhere, the brown pelican - federally listed
as endangered - is almost never seen anywhere but coastal
areas. This is the first sighting on record of a brown pelican
"You just don't expect to see a brown pelican in the
desert," Mr. Hagan said.
By contrast its cousin, the white pelican, is plentiful,
and its habitat includes not only the coastal areas, but
much of the interior of the United States.
The injured pelican was spotted by workers at the Base Information
Transfer System parking lot. It was not trying to
evade people the way wildlife most often do, and it had
a length of fishing line and sinkers still attached, dangling
from its beak. The workers supposed the bird had a fish
hook stuck somewhere down its throat or stomach. So they
called Mr. Hagan, who caught the animal without too much
effort, which Mr. Hagan said is a sign that all was not
right with the bird. The bird was taken to a wildlife rehabilitation
center where doctors say the prognosis looks good for a
full recovery and a return to the wild.
Mr. Hagan said his first task was to evaluate the nature
and extent of the pelican's injuries.
"It didn't have a broken wing, and other than the fishing
line, I couldn't see any obvious injuries," he said.
"It let me get within a few feet, but if I made a move
to pick it up, it would flap its wings a bit and move a
few yards away."
A healthy bird would take flight long before anyone got
close, he added.
According to the California Wildlife Center in Calabasas,
Calif., where the pelican was taken, the bird is believed
to have suffered from some illness, possibly red tide poisoning,
in addition to its obvious problem - the hook, line and
"They said the pelican may have gotten red tide poisoning,
which left it disoriented, and it flew inland instead of
staying in its habitat area," Mr. Hagan said.
Red tide poisoning comes from algal bloom in the ocean.
A few types of algae, often with red pigment, contain toxins
which can poison animals that directly eat the algae and
on up the food chain, resulting in a string of deaths for
aquatic life. Most species of algae are harmless to people
Swallowing a fish hook with a length of attached line is
a fairly common injury to pelicans. It can cause death,
but that most often happens when the line is long and becomes
entangled in tree limbs, ensnaring the bird until it starves,"
Mr. Hagan said.
Mr. Hagan caught the bird with a towel and the aid of a
couple of workers who were on hand. Once the bird was captured,
Mr. Hagan consulted with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
for a recommendation on what course of action to take. They
recommended the bird be taken to a rehabilitation center.
"They didn't feel the bird's chances of survival would
be good unless it was taken to a rehabilitation center,"
Mr. Hagan said.
The bird rescue didn't come without drawbacks -
the pelican transferred a good number of pelican lice to
"The people from the wildlife center asked if I was
covered with pelican lice. They were chuckling when I said
I was," Mr. Hagan said. "They also said the lice
would wash right off, and any that didn't would be gone
in a couple of days. They only survive on pelicans."
By Gary Hatch, 95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Note: The pelican went to IBRRC; it did not survive.
The Pelicans' brief visit
Birds take up residence at Nelson Lake
By Michele du Vair
BATAVIA — On Easter weekend, Michael Sedwick, an avid
photographer, packed up his camera and enormous lenses and
made his way to one of his favorite places, the Dick Young
Forest Preserve in Batavia.
After gathering up his gear, he walked the short distance
from the parking lot to the preserve's overlook of Nelson
Lake Marsh, and there he saw what birders have been observing
since late March — dozens and dozens of pelicans.
"I've never seen so many pelicans," says Sedwick.
"At least not in this country."
magnificent birds," he said of their black-tipped wings
and 110-inch wingspan. "I never even knew they were here."
The birding community is all aflutter at the sheer
number of pelicans stopping by Nelson Lake Marsh this spring.
Bird enthusiasts counted as many as 145 birds, up from a previous
high of about 30 to 40, says Bob Andrini, president of the
Kane County Audubon Society.
"I really don't
have an explanation as to why there are so many pelicans this
year," Andrini said. "I think it's just a matter
of they told someone, who told someone, who told someone."
Kind of like the bird enthusiasts who've come out to see them,
"They told two friends, who told two friends."
American white pelicans were first seen in Kane County
in 1994, out at Carson Slough in Sugar Grove. They
first came to Nelson Lake Marsh four years ago, according
to John Duerr, former longtime director of the Kane County
Forest Preserve. He said the American white pelicans, not
to be confused with the coastal brown pelicans, are inland
birds which are a part of the Mississippi flyway, one of the
four major migratory routes in the U.S.
"My suspicion is that there are probably some of the
same birds in this flock that were here from the beginning,"
said Duerr. "We humans always underestimate the intelligence
of birds and the fact that they can find their way to this
exact location from thousands of miles away."
Lee Provencher of St. Charles, a member of the local Audobon
Society, heard about the abundance of pelicans this year from
"Thank God we've got people in the
Audobon watching birds. They spot them and tell everyone else
where they're at," he said.
Provencher and his wife, Judy, noted that the shallow waters
of the Nelson Lake Marsh are filled with an abundance
of fish that are easy pickings for the travel-weary
pelicans. And they pointed out other birds that frequent the
marsh — like the great blue herons, the sandhill crane
and, more recently, the rare osprey that was seen snagging
a fish from the air.
"This really is the jewel of
the county," Provencher mused. "We've got to grab
as much land as we can near here before the builders get a
hold of it."
as of 4/20, they're gone.
The pelicans are gone
now, after last weekend's final burst of wowing visitors
to Dick Young Forest Preserve in Batavia. That's nature
for you; what's here today may be gone tomorrow.
And the problem with birds, as a bird-watching veteran at
the preserve's Nelson Lake recently pointed out, is that
they have wings.
But 234 species of birds have been sighted in the Dick Young
Forest Preserve. So even if the pelicans are gone, your
binoculars will get a workout.
The star guests lately at this birding hot spot were American
white pelicans. Their swan song over the weekend found flocks
of them floating on the lake--large, snow-white birds sporting
that trademark pouch of a bill.
They had an audience Saturday. "There's the show,"
said Jon Duerr, retired executive director of the Kane County
Forest Preserve District, nodding toward the water.
We had liftoff. Bird by bird, dozens of them took off, flying
in circles that rose into the sky.
"They catch a thermal and just go right up into the
air," said Duerr, who had been visiting frequently
and posting pelican updates on the Illinois Birders Exchanging
For the last four years, pelicans have stopped at
Nelson Lake on their way from southern Illinois, Texas or
Louisiana to their summer homes in western Minnesota, North
Dakota and Canada. Usually they arrive on March 31; this
year, they were first spotted on March 29.
They come for the food. Non-native carp and goldfish have
multiplied abundantly in Nelson Lake, providing a bountiful
buffet. The pelicans chow down for one or two weeks--last
year, they stayed for 12 days--then fly north.
It's always a highlight for the birders, but the pelicans
this year have been special.
The numbers have been "astronomical," said Duerr,
who one day last week counted 145 pelicans on the lake.
The observation platform looked like a news conference,
with tripods lined up. Birders were out with their spotting
scopes, field guides and bird lists for the show that had
yet to lose its fascination.
Maybe more pelicans will show up, Duerr said; there are
still more of them in the south, and they need to migrate
Published April 20, 2006, Barbara Brotman <http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel/chi-0604190323apr20,1,2679757.column?coll=chi-homepagetravel-hed>
Toxic algae off W Coast US is killing off brown pelicans
April 2006-- San Pedro, CA -- Pelicans are falling victim
of the same toxic bloom of ocean algae that's sickening sea
lions and also making shellfish unfit for human consumption,
wildlife rescuers said Wednesday.
More than forty Brown Pelicans have been taken to
the International Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro
in the past week, 18 of those dead on arrival and the rest
receiving treatment. Many more are dying in the wild, either
at sea or on inaccessible jetties, center officials said.
A neurotoxin produced by the algae makes its way up the food
chain to the pelicans and marine mammals and can result in
seizures and death for the wildlife. Meanwhile, the state
Department of Health Services issued a warning against the
consumption of certain sport-harvested mussels, and parts
of anchovies, sardines, lobsters and crabs. The shellfish
and fish are unfit for people and their pets due to the toxic
11/12: Domoic acid poisoning is affecting the California
Brown Pelican in Southern California, the LA Basin
and Ventura County, especially. Here's a link to an LA
CBS video site, two videos, with interviews with personnel
The segments on the pelicans are available by writing in
"pelicans" (without the quotes) on the Browse
Video Search box.
being poisoned by toxic algae bloom in waters off LA
Posted on Thu, Apr. 13, 2006 Associated Press
LOS ANGELES - Pelicans are falling ill and dying from
the same toxic algae bloom that is sickening sea lions and
making shellfish unsafe for human consumption, wildlife rescuers
More than three-dozen endangered California brown pelicans
have been taken to the International Bird Rescue Research
Center in San Pedro during the past week. Eighteen were dead
on arrival, and many more are dying in the wild, center officials
The pelicans and marine mammals are being sickened
by a neurotoxin called domoic acid, which is produced
by the algae and works its way up the food chain. Poisoned
pelicans are flying farther than usual inland, dropping from
the sky and suddenly flipping on their backs on the ground.
"They become very disoriented, they fly in different
directions, they even fall out of the sky," Jay Holcomb,
the research center's executive director, said Wednesday.
"Yesterday we got one out of a parking lot in San Pedro."
The state Department of Health Services also has warned that
the algae is making it unsafe for people to eat certain sport-harvested
mussels, and parts of anchovies, sardines, lobsters and crabs.
Human consumption of seafood contaminated with domoic acid
can cause illness, and severe cases can be fatal.
The first signs of domoic acid poisoning started appearing
in February among sea lions.
Peter Wallerstein of the Whale Rescue team, which
has taken in scores of sickened mammals, described the pelican
poisonings as a crisis that deserves the same government attention
as an oil spill.
"These are protected animals," he said.
Information from: Daily Breeze, http://www.dailybreeze.com
return to Chase Lake refuge
Pelicans are returning to Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge
near Medina, N.D.
The refuge is one of the largest nesting grounds for the birds
in North America.
Thousands of pelicans have abandoned the refuge in the last
two years, leaving many chicks to die. U.S. Fish and
Wildlife officials said West Nile Virus, bad weather and predators
like coyotes have hurt pelican numbers.
Marsha Sovada with the U.S. Geological Survey said there was
only a four percent mortality among pelican chicks before
West Nile Virus. Now, West Nile is causing 30-50 percent mortality,
"So those are the birds we expect to fledge and hatch.
And they're the ones we are losing," she said. "The
ones we should see enter the population are the ones we're
losing because of West Nile."
Sovada said they are predicting 10,000 nests and 20,000
birds this year in Chase Lake, similar to what happened in
"They're not all back yet. This is just the first wave
that comes in," she said. "They arrived last Wednesday
in good numbers. They probably have eggs on the ground right
now - a few nests."
Wildlife officials said pelican populations at Chase Lake
have ranged from more than 6,000 adults in 1974 to more than
35,000 in 2000.
See also: http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2006/04/11/news/local/113055.txt
island certified as wildlife habitat
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. - Callawassie Island, an
880-acre sea island between Beaufort and Hilton Head Island,
has been certified as a National Wildlife Federation Community
It's the first such community in South Carolina and only the
15th nationwide to receive the designation.
Home to just 500 year-round residents, Callawassie also is
home to a number of endangered species, including wood storks,
West Indian manatees, short-nosed sturgeon and brown pelicans.
The Community Wildlife Habitat aims to create sustainable
landscapes that require little or no pesticides and fertilizers.
It also incorporates community projects such as stream cleanups,
removing invasive plants, and plant and wildlife rescues.
Sara Green, director of education for the South Carolina Wildlife
Federation, worked with island resident to win the designation.
Green said the biggest threat to wildlife is loss
of habitat due to development and pollution.
"Hopefully, this will inspire other communities throughout
the state to be part of this as well," Green
Information from: The Island Packet, http://www.islandpacket.com,
Posted on Tue, Apr. 04, 2006
make annual Q-C stop-By
Mary Louise Speer, Quad-City Times
The American white pelicans are vacationing high on
the hog before heading up river to their nesting grounds in
People are invited to view the birds through spotter scopes
set up at Lock and Dam 14 near Pleasant Valley from 8 a.m.
to noon today during the second annual Quad-Cities Pelican
Watch. The two-day event began Saturday morning with viewings
of the pelicans along the Mississippi River.
LuAnn Haydon of Hampton, Ill., spotted groups of pelicans
“kettling” while driving along U.S. 84 in Illinois.
“They were all in a line and when they turned, they
all turned like the Blue Angels. Kettling is a circle pattern
that they do and they come of this into a straight line. They
don’t (fly in a) V,” she said.
There’s plenty for these water fowl with black-tipped
wings to do while hanging out at Lock and Dam 14 and farther
on down the Mississippi River. The birds adore body-surfing
in the frothy water coming off the dam and eating their version
of sushi in the small fish that frequent shallow waters. Afterward,
there’s nothing like a romantic flight together with
their mate or hobnobbing with dozens of friends and relatives
on an island.
“They seem to only eat live fish. My guess is
they eat three to five pounds a day,” said Don Bardole,
a park ranger with the Mississippi River Visitor Center. “If
I were to eat a third of my body weight a day, I would be
as big as a house. However, these birds live outside and it
takes a lot of energy for them to survive.”
Occasionally, he fields questions from people uncertain of
what these large white creatures are. Pelicans are larger
than bald eagles with a nine-foot wing span and they circle
their prey like wolves before eating, he said.
Until the late 1980s, most pelican sightings happened
in the western part of Iowa. The birds only have been migrating
through for the past six to eight years and the numbers are
swelling, he said. About 200-300 are winging through the area
this year. Bardole has no idea why they have shifted their
“Wildlife will simply do what they need to do to survive,”
he said. “Some people are hoping they will begin nesting
on the Upper Mississippi.”
Telling which pelicans are ready for the mating rituals
which will lead to eggs and chicks is simple. Many of the
birds this year have small humps on their beaks, which indicates
their inclination for parenthood, he said. Telling males and
females apart is more difficult for humans, he said.
And then there is Pelican Pete. Pete, so named by LuAnn Haydon
and Joe Taylor of the Quad-Cities Convention & Visitors
Bureau, who has an injured wing. Because of that, he has been
seen along the downtown Moline riverfront with a band of ducks.
He seems to appreciate the simple life of fishing, sleeping
Hayden and her husband, Kirk Haydon, first saw Pete several
months ago and she tried to find a wildlife rehabber who could
care for the bird. But it would have cost about $2,000 to
keep him supplied with fish. So, LuAnn settled for keeping
an eye on him. As of Thursday, she said Pete was doing fine.
“We’ve seen him preen and paddle his way up and
down the river,” she said.
The city desk can be contacted at (563) 383-2245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
in the Gulf of Mexico
In other news, I was just looking at a frightening photo
gallery of Louisiana’s Chandeleur Islands, which
is part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge. This USGS
webpage shows some photos of these critical bird nesting islands
(gulls, terns, and Brown Pelicans, among others) before and
after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. This is from the the April
Birding Community E-Bulletin (which we post onto the Bird
News page of our website):
“The refuge is now fast-disappearing. In November
of last year, the head of the USFWS, Dale Hall, in testimony
to the Senate reported that "Southeastern Louisiana,
and especially Breton National Wildlife Refuge, is globally
important for colonial nesting birds. Up to 15 percent of
the world's Brown Pelicans and up to 30 percent of the world's
Sandwich Terns nest in this area.
Breton, which is part of the Chandeleur Islands and celebrated
its centennial last year, lost 50 to 70 percent of its land
mass due the effects of Hurricane Katrina."
”This is particularly dramatic since the refuge previously
had the largest tern colony in the U.S., at one time ranging
upward of 90,000 terns (mostly Sandwich and Royal) in the
mid-1990s. By 2005 the colony had declined to about 25,000,
even before Katrina. “
”More than 12,000 Brown Pelicans were found
in the island chain as recently as 2002, but by the middle
of 2005 numbers were reduced by half. Other nesting
birds of interest in the islands include Reddish Egret, American
Oystercatcher, and Snowy Plover. The islands are also an important
location for wintering Piping Plovers and serve as a stopover
site for songbirds in spring - at least where they are vegetated.
It is no accident that the islands have been designated as
a globally significant Important Bird Area (IBA).”
”What are the current nesting implications for 2006?
While it is still too early to tell, the loss of habitat after
Hurricane Katrina certainly isn't going to help.
”Posted by Derek Lovitch, an avid birder and the owner
of the Wild Bird Center in Yarmouth.at 04/02 http://outdoors.mainetoday.com/naturewatching/fieldnotes/005350.html
are having a major impact on the local perch fishery, some
research shows. Sport and commercial fishermen have long
suspected double-crested cormorants played a role in declining
yellow perch populations on Green Bay.
After two years of research that saw the stomachs of 976
cormorants analyzed in a diet study by University of Wisconsin
graduate researcher Sarah Meadows, they may have the ammunition
Or do they?
Even though a new model by the state Department
of Natural Resources suggests the cormorant colony on Cat
Island in southern Green Bay may have consumed some 6 million
to 9 million yellow perch in the past two years, Great Lakes
fisheries specialist Bill Horns said it's not clear how
that affects the perch population.
Using 25 years of data and a complex energetics model, biologist
Matt Mangan of the Peshtigo DNR office is trying to figure
out whether the birds are taking advantage of a record hatch
of perch in 2003.
Meadows found the Cat Island colony ate fewer but larger
perch in 2005. The greatest number found in stomachs of
birds killed in the past two years were 21⁄2 to 5
inches long, likely the 2003 year class.
While perch were most often eaten by cormorants in 2004,
gizzard shad was the top meal last year, and round gobies
— No. 4 behind spottail shiners in 2004 — moved
up to third.
About two-thirds of the 436 birds killed two years
ago contained prey; last year, 83.3 percent of the 540 shot
by U.S. Department of Agriculture wildlife services personnel
had prey — 21 species in all.
Meadows will continue her research this year.
The state also will begin a control program in which cormorant
eggs on four islands — Cat and three in northern Door
County — will be oiled to prevent them from hatching."
"Up to one-third of the consumption is by the chicks,"
Horns said. "We think just by egg-oiling, we can have
Joe Grant of Kewaunee said while that's a step in the right
direction, he believes adult cormorants should be thinned
out, too. Grant said he sees large flocks diving in the
Kewaunee harbor after trout and salmon are stocked each
"The state spends our (salmon and trout) stamp money
to hatch and care for these fish, only to have a large percentage
of them become cormorant food," Grant said.
Dan Farah, a Green Bay chiropractor who owns Sand Bay Lodge
and Cottages in southern Door County, said cormorants invade
the bays and harbors each spring.
"The water is so low and clear, the fish are all spawning
in the little bays and harbors and (the cormorants) just
sit there and peck at 'em all day," he said.
Dick Sickinger of Fox River Bait & Tackle in Oshkosh
said he sees hundreds of cormorants on inland waters spring
and fall, especially on the west end of Lake Butte des Morts.
"Last fall, I saw flocks of 50 to 200 or so birds,
four to six times a day," he said.
There is no money available for cormorant research outside
lower Green Bay, Horns said. The first two years of the
study cost about $80,000, he said, with money coming from
natural resources damage settlements paid by Fox River paper
Cormorants can live longer than a decade, Meadows said.
There are an estimated 12,000 breeding pairs in Wisconsin,
including 2,000 or so on Cat Island.Avid birder
Tom Erdman, curator for the Richter Museum of Natural History
at UW-Green Bay, said he believes record perch harvests
by sport fishermen in 1990 and 1991 played a large role
in reducing future catches.
"That 50-limit, 100-possession era is what really crashed
yellow perch," Erdman said. "At the same time,
zebra mussels and white perch appeared and exploded. If
you look at the trawl data, the low point in yellow perch
encounters occurred five years after the massive winter
That, he said, is a classic example of overharvest, with
the expected time lag showing reduced numbers from more
than six million fish killed before they could spawn.
Meanwhile, perch have made a comeback despite having cormorants
present. Erdman believes that's due to limited ice fishing
opportunities since the late 1990s, with poor ice conditions
and reduced limits allowing more of the adult females to
Anglers should also consider the positive value of the millions
of pounds of rough fish and exotic species eaten by cormorants
that compete with and feed on perch eggs and larval young,
Though he doubts controls will greatly reduce cormorant
populations, if that should happen, Erdman believes there
will be unintended and unexpected effects on other fish
species, including game species.
"Gizzard shad and round gobies may well be the future,"
Though the DNR model suggests the Cat Island birds alone
have been catching as many or more perch as the combined
sport and commercial fisheries in recent years, Erdman said
it's not applicable to the other colonies in the upper bay
as the diet is different. Past samplings of regurgitated
prey showed alewives dominating.
He believes egg-oiling and any possible lethal control of
adults down the road is a political decision.
"They'll do controls, perch will increase and chaps
will say, 'See, it was them cormorants,'" Erdman said.
"It's a waste of money as far as I'm concerned."
Erdman said the CEOs of the paper mills must be scratching
their heads, since environmental damage money from PCB settlements
is being used to fund the study.
"First they are charged millions of dollars for damaging
the birds, and now the DNR is going to use the money to
kill them," Erdman said.
Erdman wonders how long it'll be before anglers
ask for controls on white pelicans, which are larger, consume
more fish and have increased in number from 6 to 600 pair
in a decade.
"The DNR won't want to touch this, because there would
be an uproar by the public," he said.
Pelican proposal up in the air
By RICHARD HINTON, Bismarck Tribune
A report and recommendations on learning more about
American white pelicans is in Sen. ByronDorgan's hands,
but what happens next probably won't be known for another
month or longer.
"The president is proposing budget cuts for the Fish
and Wildlife Service, so they will have less money,"
the North Dakota Democrat said Thursday.
The 2007 budget proposes a $33 million cut in the budgets
for the USFWS and U.S. Geological Survey, the two leading
federal agencies in monitoring the pelican nesting colonies
on the northern plains. The proposed cut is about 2 percent,
The report was prompted following mass abandonments of adult
pelicans at Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge in 2004
and 2005. The ranking Democrat on the Interior Appropriations
Subcommittee, Dorgan ordered the pelican report following
last year's pelican exodus from the federal refuge near
Representatives from the USFWS, the USGS and other
federal and state agencies convened a pelican conference
in January, which said that West Nile virus was a significant
cause of pelican mortality at breeding colonies in the northern
plains, but researchers added that West Nile is not the
only thing impacting pelican populations.
The 2004 Chase Lake pelican pullout occurred too early to
be attributed to West Nile, a report addendum said, because
the exodus happened before the emergence of the mosquito
species that carries West Nile. There are at least five
possible causes for that abandonment, including another
disease, severe weather, depredation and disturbance by
predators, human disturbance, reduced food sources or a
combination of those factors, researchers said.
"Who knows if there were strange and unusual patterns
or if we will know a cause or if the cause is accurate,"
Dorgan said. "Probably only time will tell us some
of those answers."
West Nile was responsible for up to 40 percent pelican
chick mortality at two other colonies - Bitter Lake NWR
in South Dakota and Medicine Lake NWR in Montana - in mid-July
2004, the report noted. West Nile first was noted in young
pelicans in 2002.
The documentation of West Nile in pelicans is especially
significant because the disease is not known to cause wide-scale
mortality in the young of any other avian species, the report
"The long-term impact of this disease on the regional
and possibly continental populations of pelicans could be
devastating," the report said.
The pelican summit also resulted in a series of recommendations
that went to Dorgan:
3 Conducting a population assessment of white pelicans in
the United States and Canada.
3 Continuing surveillance for West Nile virus and immunity
development in the population.
3 Assessing productivity.
3 Continuing and expanding banding activities.
3 And continuing on-going monitoring and support.
Hearings in the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which
includes USFWS and USGS, are under way, Dorgan said.
"That's the time in which to ask questions about plans
and what they intend to do and what resources are necessary
to do what we expect them to do," Dorgan said.
Although breaking the bank for pelican research is not in
the cards, "we need to continue the important research,"
Dorgan continued. "There have been serious questions
raised about the health of the pelican colonies. I think
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should proceed and continue
Dorgan said he expects to have some answers in a "month
Pelicans typically begin arriving at Chase Lake
in April. Biologists expect them to return again this spring,
Until the abandonments, the Chase Lake colony was believed
to be the largest in North America.
Among the recommendations for Chase Lake are estimating
pelican productivity with aerial photos taken in late May
to obtain a nest count and in August to estimate numbers
of young birds. If funding is not available for the second
flight, number of young will be estimated by conducting
Researchers also plan to band approximately 2,500 birds
with number and color bands in July. Researchers also will
document activity and pelican behaviors on the nesting grounds
with video and direct observations to evaluate factors that
might influence productivity.
The USGS will put three more satellite GPS transmitters
on adult pelicans in 2006 - eight transmitters were deployed
on adult pelicans in 2005. Researchers also will monitor
the colony for mortality events related to disease and weather,
and a sample of dead birds may be sent to the USGS National
Wildlife Health Center for evaluation.
(Reach outdoor writer Richard Hinton at 250-8256 or richard.hinton@;bismarcktribune.com.)
expected to declare 3 islands for the birds
BY BO PETERSEN
The Post and Courier
The state Budget and Control Board is expected today to
designate three critical shorebird rookeries in the Lowcountry
The board will vote on a reworked Natural Resources Department
proposal for Deveaux Bank, Crab Bank and Bird Key.
"It was pretty clear the Budget and Control Board was
not going to pass it as it was," said John Frampton,
Natural Resources director.
The board now proposes allowing tidal beach access year-round
at Deveaux Bank, the biggest nesting ground of the three
The original proposal virtually would have closed the publicly
owned islands that are habitual stops for boaters, except
for opening tidal beaches when birds aren't nesting. The
other two will be off limits during nesting season. Dogs
won't be allowed on any of the three.
The islands are three of only five protected rookeries in
the state for sea and shorebirds such as brown pelicans,
royal terns, oyster catchers, black skimmers, snowy egrets
and least terns. They also have become rest stops for boaters
and those who love to party. Biologists suspect human and
dog intrusion is contributing to a decline in the numbers
of those birds.
Deveaux Bank in recent years has produced more nests than
the other two combined. Crab Bank, the 16-acre island at
the mouth of Shem Creek in Charleston Harbor, is the most
heavily used by people and dogs.
Surf fishermen and others like the isolated, open oceanfronts
of 35-acre Bird Key at the Stono River inlet between Folly
Beach and Kiawah Island, and 215-acre Deveaux Bank between
Seabrook and Edisto islands.
After the February DNR board vote, three Charleston-area
residents who have property in the estuaries south of Charleston,
and whose families have long used Deveaux Bank, began an
e-mail campaign and approached the legislative delegation
to maintain their access.
Reach Bo Petersenat 745-5852 or email@example.com://www.charleston.net/stories/default_pf.aspx?newsID=77067
DNR reconsiders ban on boats on one uninhabited sea island
Published Saturday, March 18, 2006
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Department of Natural Resources
Board has decided to let picnickers and fisherman keep coming
by boat to an uninhabited sea island.
Officials in the agency wanted to ban boaters from
three islands from Oct. 15 to March 15, but Friday agreed
to a compromise to allow people to keep coming to Deveaux
Bank, near Edisto Island.
The ban remains for Crab Bank in Charleston Harbor and Bird
Key, a 10-acre island between Folly Beach and Kiawah.
DNR said it needed to ban boaters from the islands to protect
birds like brown pelicans, whose buried eggs sometimes get
stepped on by people and dogs.
The number of brown pelican nests in the state dropped
to 2,631 last year from a high of nearly 8,000 in the late
land at local lakes
By Scott Richardson, firstname.lastname@example.org
HUDSON — With long pointed bills sporting pouches that
stretch when filled with fish, the flock of American White
Pelicans might look more natural at the seashore than the
plains of Central Illinois. But, the pelicans seem right at
home this week during a stopover at the city of Bloomington’s
two water reservoirs, Lake Bloomington and Evergreen Lake,
in northern McLean County.
Mike Steffa, operations supervisor at Comlara Park/Evergreen
Lake, said the birds first appeared on Tuesday.
"It’s really nice to see them there," said
Dale Birkenholz, a bird expert and professor emeritus at Illinois
State University. He chairs the stewardship committee for
the John Wesley Powell chapter of the Audubon Society based
in the Twin Cities.
The flock, which numbers more than 25, would have
been far from their normal migration path as recently as 10
years ago. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a national authority
on bird science, still doesn’t list Illinois on the
route pelicans would normally take from wintering grounds
along the Gulf Coast to spring nesting grounds on prairie
lakes in the northern United States and southern Canada.
But, pelicans, apparently don’t read maps. Since
the late 1990s, the birds which reach 5 feet long with wingspans
of 8 feet have extended their range eastward into Illinois,
Birkenholz said. Thousands of pelicans now crowd the Illinois
River each spring and fall. Some have spent recent mild winters
along southern sections of the Illinois River, and some appear
to be spending summers there.
Why pelicans changed their flight path is unknown.
"Sometimes they do that, their range waxes and wanes,"
The cause may be discovery of a new food source, he said.
Pelicans are fish eaters, often cooperating in the task by
surrounding fish in a circle to concentrate baitfish before
dipping their head to catch them. Sometimes, a migration
route changes when they find new places to nest. Though they’re
not known to nest in Illinois, pelicans might do just that
in the near future as they did for the first time in Minnesota
last year, he said.
Other bird species, such as White-fronted geese and Cackling
geese, have been seen more often in Illinois recently, he
Though no study has centered specifically on White Pelicans,
Given Harper, an ornithologist who chairs Illinois Wesleyan
University’s biology department, said other research
has cited global warming as a cause for recent changes in
the life cycles of plants and animals and the migration routes
of some birds. Last year was the warmest on record.
"That’s just speculation, but some birds are nesting
earlier, flowers are opening sooner, and there are changes
in the distribution of organisms," Harper said.
Few signs of spring appear
By CHRIS MICHELSON, Special to the Star-Tribune
It is that time of year when one starts to look for signs
of spring. There are a few, but only a few.
As usual at this time of year most birding is associated with
open water and thus with waterfowl. A tour down to Glenrock
earlier this month produced a few interesting birds. There
were three adult trumpeter swans on a frozen pond about three
miles east of the Natrona/Converse county line along the old
At the Dave Johnson power plant there were the usual ducks.
American widgeon are increasing in numbers and there were
also several canvasbacks. Most unusual were the presence
of two American white pelicans. This species has wintered
here in the past, but still is unusual.
The Lusby fishing access on the North Platte River between
Casper and Alcova is a place where one may find waterfowl.
Present this weekend were three trumpeter swans. These are
different from those mentioned above, since one of these birds
is a juvenile and those above were all adults. Also present
were common goldeneye, common merganser, mallard, green-wing
teal, American widgeon and northern pintail.
One possible sign of spring was the presence of a great blue
heron. This species sometimes will winter over in this area.
At Grey Reef Reservoir there was a more certain sign of spring
-- a group of six mountain bluebirds. All were males, which
is normal at this time of year. Also present were common goldeneye,
common merganser, mallard, gadwall, American coot, bufflehead,
lesser scaup, canvasback, ring-neck duck and pied-bill grebe.
Unusual species were at least six Barrow's goldeneye males
with some number of females. Also present was a hooded merganser.
One majestic adult bald eagle was checking the flocks of ducks
for injured birds.
Pelicans on Parade (POP!) in Klamath, Oregon has expanded
with its own web site. The White Pelican is the "mascot"
of the city of Klamath Falls and is celebrated in the southern
Oregon city. Proceeds from the POP! project will be used by
Klamath Wingwatchers, Inc. for educational projects, including
those in partnership with community nonprofits and art groups
that promote birding and appreciation of natural resources
in the Upper Klamath Basin. Some fine pelican sculptures pictured;
check them out and more at http://www.pelicansonparade.com/
the February 19 San Diego Tribune article about domoic acid,
in the Wildlife News section
pelicans close Santa Barbara Island
Anna Davison, SB News-Press staff reporter — February
15, 2006 12:00 AM
Endangered birds would abandon nests if disturbed
Santa Barbara Island will be closed to the public through
May 31 to protect a breeding population of the endangered
California brown pelican.
This season, the birds are nesting on and near the trail that
connects the landing dock with all other parts of the island,
according to the National Park Service. If disturbed, pelicans
on the island would abandon their nests for the rest of the
season, the agency says.
The Channel Islands are home to two of the three primary pelican
breeding populations on the West Coast. Each year, the birds
build from 400 to 700 nests on Santa Barbara Island, the Park
Lake mosquitoes reveal more West Nile secrets
February 13, 2006 -- By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service
BOZEMAN -- Mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus and live
at the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge feed on birds
first, then move on to large mammals like cattle, deer, horses
and humans later in the season, according to Montana State
Entomologist Greg Johnson and graduate student Kristina
Hale trapped mosquitoes all over Montana last summer, but
concentrated much of their efforts at the northeast Montana
refuge which lost more than 1,000 pelicans to West Nile virus
in 2003. Besides the bird-mammal sequence, they found that
the mosquitoes prefer the blood of mourning doves over any
The Culex tarsalis mosquito is the primary species that carries
West Nile virus in Montana and mainly flies between 10 p.m.
and 1 a.m., Johnson said. Its favorite resting spot are wind
breaks made up of trees, grass and shrubs. Females of the
species need blood for energy and egg development. Males drink
nectar instead of blood for energy.
Johnson started researching the relationship between mosquitoes
and West Nile virus in 2003 when the virus killed four Montanans
and 70 horses besides the pelicans. Last summer in Montana,
West Nile virus was found in 26 humans, nine horses and 17
counties. No deaths occurred. The first mosquito that tested
positive for the virus was found July 25 in western Montana,
Johnson said. The first human case was discovered Aug. 5.
The first horse case was found Aug. 6 and the first chicken
on Aug. 18. The chickens were part of the MSU research project.
Ten of the human cases occurred in Custer County.
Hale used three techniques to capture mosquitoes at the Medicine
Lake refuge. Specifically looking for female mosquitoes that
had dined recently on blood, she said the best method involved
fiberboard pots that had been painted black and set around
"It was very specific," Hale said.
Johnson and Hale sent the blood they collected to a USDA laboratory
in Laramie, Wyo., where researchers analyzed the blood and
determined that the female mosquitoes fed on blood from robins,
pelicans, sharp-tailed grouse, pheasants and mourning doves.
The mosquitoes generally fed on birds from late June through
much of July, then shifted to mammals in August.
"A mosquito feeds on a bird and picks up the virus,"
Johnson said. "After several days, the mosquito is infected
and infects a bird when it takes another blood meal. This
process where mosquitoes pick up the virus, then transmit
it to another bird is called virus amplification. It continues
through the summer and results in lots of infected mosquitoes
as well as infected birds."
Mosquitoes can get the virus from birds and vice versa, Johnson
added. But he believes West Nile is carried or re-introduced
in Montana every year by migrating birds, possibly mourning
Johnson and Hale also discovered that two mosquito species
besides the Culex tarsalis -- the Culiseta inornata and the
Aedes vexans -- carry West Nile virus. They rarely feed on
birds, however. The Culiseta inornata captured at Medicine
Lake strongly prefers cattle blood, while Aedes vexans has
a strong preference for white-tailed deer. Montana may be
in for trouble if a pathogen that uses cattle, deer and other
ungulates is introduced in North America, Johnson predicted.
Funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
will allow Johnson and Hale to continue their Montana research
next summer. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has asked
to include North Dakota and South Dakota in mosquito and virus
surveillance studies in 2006, too, Johnson said. Pelicans
have been dying at the Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge
in North Dakota and at Bitter Lake in South Dakota.
In his Medicine Lake work, Johnson said he wants to
figure out why so many pelicans died from West Nile virus
when it wasn't the primary bird providing blood to the mosquitoes.
Johnson also wants to pursue the role of migratory birds such
as mourning doves as reservoirs for West Nile.
He'll try to find out the answers by possibly using pigeons,
as well as chickens, Johnson said. Pigeons would simulate
mourning doves, he said, because they are easy to use and
maintain. They are also plentiful and about the same size
Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or email@example.com
Needed to Miami --- UPDATE: a ride was found!!!!
(CBS4 News/AP) MIAMI South Florida's newest resident is
a young pelican named Stinky -- who was found starving and
injured on a North Carolina beach, last month. Unlike most
who come here -- Stinky showed up on a corporate jet!
The Pelican Harbor Seabird Station agreed to take him. The
facility is surrounded by saltwater in the middle of Biscayne
Bay, and should prepare Stinky for a return to the wild.
But Stinky's problem was getting a free -- and stress-free
-- ride that would allow him to eat while in transit.
Stinky is now 5 months old. He has an 8-foot wing-span and
is learning how to eat on his own. If all goes well, he
could be released in April.
January 22, 2006: http://cbs4.com/topstories/local_story_022183504.html
photo: Jennifer Gordon, ducklinglady@...
buddy, going my way?
January 15, 2006, by Diane Mouskouri, Daily News Staff
Stinky needs a ride to Miami - the sooner the better.
That sounds like a tall order. After all, who wants to be
cooped up in a car with Stinky for 14 hours?
But in this case it's a mission of mercy. Stinky is a juvenile
brown pelican that was found starving and injured on the
beach in Surf City in December. Tony O'Neil, a wildlife
rehabber with Possumwood Acres in Hubert has been caring
for it ever since.
Almost since she received the bird, whose band indicates
it was born in August, O'Neil has been trying to find a
facility to take Stinky. She found the Pelican Harbor Seabird
Station in Miami, and the executive director Wendy Fox has
agreed to take the bird. Fox said the organization has received
birds from as far away as Canada and New Orleans.
"We received 47 baby pelicans that were rescued after
Hurricane Dennis," she said. "We specialize in
eastern brown pelicans."
The facility is surrounded by saltwater in the middle of
Biscayne Bay. There are wild pelicans all around.
"It's a great place to be a pelican," Fox said.
"It's a great incentive to come down and rehabilitate
The facility often receives birds from North Carolina.
But after pelicans have been around humans, it's hard to
break them of the habit, Fox said.
"We're constantly finding pelicans with fish hooks
in their beaks, so if a pelican associates food with people
they'll always identify with that," Fox said. "Down
here he will be in a pen with about 20 other pelicans (six
of its kind) and learn how to be a pelican.
"It's all about getting them into the right place at
the right time."
Going Stinky's way?
The facility is no problem. Hitching a ride for Stinky is.
Stinky, by the way, got his name because of the smell associated
with feeding him.
"When he first arrived on my doorstep he weighed a
mere five pounds, about half what he should weigh,"
Since then the bird has gained about 3 1⁄2 pounds
and has reached full growth with an 8-foot wingspan, she
"Pelican Harbor Seabird Sanctuary is the best place
for Stinky now," O'Neil said.
But trying to find the bird a ride to his new home hasn't
been easy. In fact, O'Neil has had no luck at all.
"I tried arranging a flight for the bird through Southwings,
but they didn't have any pilots willing or able to go right
"I can't afford the cost of fuel reimbursement
out of my own pocket for the trip either."
Southwings, a nonprofit organization in Asheville, is dedicated
to conserving the natural resources and ecosystems of the
Southeast -Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee,
North Carolina, Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia. Volunteer
pilots will transport injured animals when the need arises,
"We need help finding someone willing to fly the bird
down to Miami as soon as possible," O'Neil said. "I've
had him for four weeks, but he still needs further rehabilitation
if he has any hope of surviving in the wild."
Flight would be the optimum solution to ensure that the
bird is fed the way he needs to be during travel and to
limit stress, O'Neil said.
"He is the sweetest bird," she said. "I'd
keep him in a heartbeat if I could."
Points of contact
Possumwood Acres, 119 Doe Drive, Hubert, 326-6432.
SouthWings, 35 Haywood Street, Suite 201; Asheville, 28801;
(800) 640-1131; or www.southwings.org
Pelican Harbor Seabird Station, (305) 751-9840 or
In search of a place to land
By: Beth Gallaspy , The Enterprise
Population migrations due to hurricane devastation might not
be over yet.
Southeast Texas bird lovers still are watching to see how
the changed coastal landscape will affect feathered residents
and frequent guests.
Hurricane Katrina could be as much a factor as Hurricane
The largest brown pelican colony on the Gulf Coast, about
10,000 to 15,000 pair of nesting birds, made its home in the
Chandeleur Islands off the eastern coast of Louisiana, noted
Winnie Burkett, sanctuaries manager for the Houston Audubon
Society. The islands also were home to 10,000 to 20,000 pair
of terns, she said. Three-fourths of the islands were swallowed
in the storm.
"Where will all those birds wind up? It will be interesting
to see," Burkett said by telephone.
If some of the pelicans decide to settle on the northern Texas
coast, they would find a few thousand peers on North Deer
Island, a Houston Audubon Society sanctuary in Galveston Bay
that hosts the region's largest population of nesting brown
pelicans each spring, Burkett said. That property, like the
Bolivar Flats sanctuary on western Bolivar Peninsula, was
outside the Hurricane Rita strike zone.
However, sanctuaries in High Island did not fare as well.
Hurricane Rita did not do as much damage in High Island as
further east, but numerous downed trees means a little less
room for the roseate spoonbills, egrets, cormorants and herons
that settle at the rookery at the Smith Oaks sanctuary each
"We're busy planting trees, and we're going to build
some nesting platforms," Burkett said. "We probably
won't have quite as many birds nesting there, but we'll have
the same variety."
(409) 833-3311, ext. 425©The Beaumont Enterprise 2006
in 2005 pummeled birds’ habitat
By Jeremy Cox
Friday, January 20, 2006
Hundreds of white ibises, great egrets and other wading birds
winged their way to Henry Key, a tiny patch of red mangroves
south of Marco Island, to settle down one night last October.
Before dawn broke, their world came crashing down. The trees
where the birds had roosted blew down under the strain of
Hurricane Wilma’s 120 mph winds, killing at least 95
The Oct. 24 storm was the last chapter in a catastrophic year
for birds that nest on or near Marco Island, wildlife experts
Four hurricanes and one tropical storm brushed or hit Collier
County in 2005. The violent waves and heavy rain drowned the
eggs of beach-nesting shorebirds; winds inflicted deadly blows
to wading birds.
Tales about birds sensing impending danger and taking flight
before hurricanes are no more than tales, Below said. His
findings prove it: If the ibises and egrets had known better,
they certainly would have fled Henry Key, which was within
a few miles of Wilma’s landfall.
Across the region, beach-loving birds defied the storm
— and expectations.
The death toll was much lower for shorebirds such as piping
plovers and brown pelicans. Below noted more than 5,000 shorebirds
at Sand Dollar Spit before the storm and just 18 dead birds
on the sandbar after the storm.
Among the dead, none were birds that forge a living from the
harsh beach environment. The birds probably hid in footprints
in the sand and behind sea oats as the storm passed, Below
But they didn’t escape hurricane season unscathed. The
near-misses of Tropical Storm Arlene and Hurricanes Dennis,
Katrina and Rita destroyed hundreds of their nests on the
beach, making last year one of the worst for nesting in recent
In his 30 years of bird monitoring, Below hasn’t seen
anything like it.
“This year we had more wind and rain during the nesting
season,” he said.
Black skimmers, a pointy-looking bird with a black body and
red bill, produced 38 chicks, down from their usual output
of roughly 200 to 300, Below said.
Least terns, a bird with silver wings and black crown that’s
listed as a threatened species, fared even worse. The birds
made about 400 nests from Marco Island to Cape Romano, and
all were lost to the sea.
Are least terns in trouble?
“My professional guess would be no,” said Ricardo
Zambrano, a biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission in West Palm Beach. He oversees the several state-protected
bird habitats around Marco.
“Being a beach-nesting species, an over-wash comes with
the territory. ... This has been happening for hundreds of
years, and the species is still there.”
© 2006 Naples Daily News and NDN Productions. Published
in Naples, Florida, USA by the E.W. Scripps Co.
tackles pelican mystery
By RICHARD HINTON
Researchers will conduct a continent-wide census of
the American white pelican population after a summit
last week in Jamestown concluded there is much to learn about
the long-necked, stubby-legged white birds.
"We have to learn more about them before we can effectively
manage the species," Ken Torkelson, a spokesman for the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Bismarck, said Wednesday.
Attending the conference were USFWS representatives from five
states, the USDA Wildlife Services, the U.S. Geological Survey's
Northern Prairie Research Center in Jamestown, the North Dakota,
Minnesota and South Dakota game and fish departments, St.
Cloud State University and the University of Regina.
The summit was prompted by mass pullouts of white
pelicans from Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge north of
Medina the past two springs and summers. The Chase Lake colony
once was believed to be the largest in North America.
"They are not a game bird and they're not on the endangered
species list," Torkelson said. "They are not a high
There are an estimated 50 to 65 white pelican colonies in
North America, but the last pelican census was done about
25 years ago, Torkelson added.
Researchers will conduct the census in 2007.
"Once we have that, we will know if there is a problem
with pelicans in general or if there are problems at just
a couple of colonies," Torkelson said.
Researchers also will continue and expand monitoring
for the West Nile virus.
"At colonies we have been monitoring, we believe West
Nile is claiming 50 to 60 percent of the young for past couple
of years," Torkelson said. Female pelicans typically
lay two eggs, but usually only one survives.
Researchers also will continue to band young pelicans.
"The more information we acquire through banding, the
better off we are," Torkelson said. They will concentrate
on colonies at Chase Lake, Medicine Lake in Montana and Bitter
Lake in South Dakota.
And they will sample some colonies to determine how many eggs
pelicans are laying and how many chicks are surviving to fledgling.
The USFWS also is planning for the upcoming pelican season
at Chase Lake NWR. Two observers will be on the ground almost
daily; they will try to get on the water and on the nesting
islands more frequently, and the predator fence will be put
up again, Torkelson said.
"We're confident of some pelicans returning to Chase
Lake," he added.
Data from the few Chase Lake pelicans that were fitted
with satellite transmitters shows most migrated to wintering
grounds in coastal Louisiana.
The summit's recommendations will be part of a report going
to Congress next month. Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., ordered
the summit following last year's exodus of adult pelicans
from Chase Lake.
(Reach reporter Richard Hinton at 701-250-8256 or richard.hinton@;bismarcktribune.com.)
for November-December, 2005, pelican news
here for August, September, October, 2005 pelican news
here for June-July, 2005, pelican news
here for April-May, 2005, pelican news
here for February and March, 2005, pelican
Click here for January, 2005, pelican news
Click here for December, 2004, pelican news;
here for October-November, 2004 pelican news;
here for August-September, 2004 pelican news;
here for July, 2004 news; Click
here for April-June, 2004 pelican news.
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