for January-April, pelican news
We're more than pelicans; check out the Wildlife
White Pelican - National Geographic | Australian
twins and pelicans | Baby
Pelicans Starving Along Calif. Coast | Chase
Lake pelicans return | Crucial
time for pelican deaths | domoic
acid cause of disorentation | Domoic
Acid/"drunk" pelican crashes | ESA
listing change for CA Brown Pelican | Fireworks
and Texas pelicans | Flying under
the influence | IBRRC at San
Pedro influx of birds and at
| Katrina's effects on Brown Pelicans
| Lake Tahoe pelicans
| Lightning kills 49 Kenya pelicans
| Lost pelicans in Yuma | manatees
and pelicans | Monterey
pelicans | Oil spill in Savannah River,
Georgia | Oregon | Pelicans
in Puget Sound
| Prince Edward Island pelican | return
to Prince Island | Salton Sea | San
Luis Obispo: starving pelicans and June
23 | Santa
Barbara pelicans | Savannah pelicans
and oil spill | Shaq
O'Neal of birds | Spot-billed | starvation
the answer? | testing the waters |
Texas fish kills -> pelican deaths | Tucson
pelicans need help | videos_ Huntington
Beach | white
pelicans and trout |
Fish kill leads to bird casualties
Aug 29, 2006 06:39 PM
CORPUS CHRISTI - Those who have traveled out near Packery
Channel lately can't help notice the stench from hundreds
of dead fish. And the fish kill has led to another problem
with low-flying birds.
The fish kill began last week, and Texas Parks and Wildlife
officials said they believe this was a one-day event caused
by low-dissolved oxygen. Precisely what caused that low-dissolved
oxygen is still under investigation.
It could have been low winds one day last week or stagnant
water that caused the problem. A Coastal fisheries staff
member said all signs indicate the fish kill actually happened
outside the Packery Channel.
Texas Parks and Wildlife will be out at the Packery Channel
again Wednesday morning to make a determination. In the
meantime, U.S. Fish and Wildlife is also concerned about
some other casualties from the fish kill.
Pelicans are getting killed by passing cars on the 361
bridge, and Texas Department of Transportation has put
up warning signs as a result. They're swooping down too
low to feast on the fish.
At least seven brown pelicans have been found
dead. Motorists should use some caution in the area.
More information on the fish kill should be available
Bait Fish Attracting Porpoises
To Cove Near Seaside
By Kristian Foden-Vencil
PORTLAND, OR (2006-08-23) People on the North Oregon coast
are reporting unusually large numbers of porpoises, pelicans
Staff at the Seaside Aquarium estimated Tuesday that about
100 harbor porpoises arrived in a cove close to the shore.
Aquarium manager, Keith Chandler, says people really enjoyed
Keith Chandler: Most likely they were there feeding on
anchovies. We've been seeing large schools of anchovies
just off shore. They just gathered in an area where the
public could get a good look at them.
Some scientist suspect a cold up-welling in the ocean
has pushed more nutrients than usual to the surface, which
in turn has attracted anchovies and herring.
Porpoises, gulls and pelicans then feed on the small bait
Other clusters of sea life have been seen in Seaside,
Cannon Beach and elsewhere. All the species are native,
but observers say they've never seen this many at once.
© Copyright 2006, OPB http://publicbroadcasting.net/opb/news.newsmain?action=article&ARTICLE_ID=958360§ionID=1
A Sign of Things to Come?
August 21st, 2006Al
Gore warns in his movie An Inconvenient Truth that
global warming threatens to leave much of Manhattan
underwater. Now bird watcher Ken Emerson is saying
that global warming is already causing strange things
to happen — like
that manatee that people have been seeing around
manatee has evidently given up on Florida — where
manatees generally summer — to hang out around
the yacht clubs in Westchester. Manatees are not
native to the area, but scientists have said that
it is within the realm of possibility that this
one decided to swim here from the south.
“In this the manatee is not alone,” writes
Emergson. “A quarter of a century ago,
brown pelicans were as rare in this neck of the
woods as, well, wolverines. Now the state bird
of Louisiana cruises the coasts of New Jersey
and Long Island every summer, skimming over the
water in single-file troupes.”
may be underwater eventually, but we may be overrun with
strange, tropical animals first.
Compiled by Joshua Brusteinhttp://www.gothamgazette.com/blogs/wonkster/2006/08/21/a-sign-of-things-to-come/
3 Million Fish Die In The Salton
Clean-Up Efforts Are Underway (CBS)
SALTON SEA, Calif. About 3 million fish died in the Salton
Sea over the last week and clean-up crews were using pumps
and tractors to scoop the decomposing fish out of the water,
it was reported Monday.Environmental Recovery Solutions
crews were pumping up the fish while biologists from the
state Department of Fish and Game watched to assure that
no endangered species were harmed, The Press-Enterprise
fish die during the summer when triple-digit temperatures
rob the salty lake of oxygen. But local officials said
this is one of the largest ever die-offs in the Salton
Sea.Flocks of brown pelicans, an endangered species, call
the sea home. The sea also has more than 400 bird species
and is a major area for migratory birds.It's unknown how
much the cleanup will cost. Using nets and rakes to collect
the fish did not work because the task was too great, according
to Dan Cain with the Salton Sea Authority, which supervises
Oil spill hurt few pelicans Associated
PressSAVANNAH - Georgia environmental officials
say they made a mistake in reporting dozens of brown pelicans
had been coated in oil from an estimated 5,000-gallon spill
in the Savannah River. Blown-up photographs of 246 brown
pelicans observed in the oil-slicked river revealed only
two with oil on their beaks, officials said Wednesday.
They had said a day earlier that 47 of the federally protected
birds appeared to have oil in their feathers.Wildlife scientists
who spotted the pelicans Tuesday had to view them through
binoculars from 50 yards away.
looked like oil was often just water in the birds' brown
feathers, said Jeff Barnes, an emergency specialist with
the state Environmental Protection Division."They're brown and ... they look like they could
be oil-coated," Barnes said."We
actually questioned, why would the birds be so
readily able to fly? And now we know - the feathers
were wet."The scientists discovered their
mistake after examining digital photos of each
bird taken with a telephoto lens.Barnes said no
other species appeared to seriously harmed by the
oil spill discovered Monday along 12 miles of the
river between Savannah and Tybee Island,
as well as 3 miles of the adjacent Intracoastal
Coast Guard said it's still investigating whether the
oil came from a ship, a pipeline or some other source.
With the cause unknown, taxpayers are having to pay for
the cleanup, likely to take weeks."The conditions are getting better as we speak," Barnes
This article was printed via the web on 7/27/2006 11:58:44
PM . This article
appeared in The Post and Courier and updated online at
Charleston.net on Thursday, July 20, 2006.
'Drunk' Pelican Crashes Again
CORONA DEL MAR A California Brown Pelican named "Crash" for
diving into a car windshield after ingesting tainted algae
earned her nickname again Thursday, smacking into some
rocks when released into the wild.Despite
the early stumble, "Crash" recovered
and eventually soared away.The
bird was one of 11 pelicans released at Big Corona Beach
by staff from the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in
"Crash" was distinguished
by a red dot on her beak, according to Debbie McGuire,
wildlife director of the center.As all the birds were set free, the other 10 immediately
flew off, but Crash lingered. :::snip::: Jul
20, 2006 3:39 pm US/Pacific, http://cbs2.com/topstories/local_story_201184413.html (direct
videos on this story: 6/26 <http://firstname.lastname@example.org>,
including pelicans and black-crowned herons at the Wildlife
Care Center, Huntington Beach; 6/24 <http://email@example.com> Also: Testing the Waters
Monsoon-directed pelicans need water, transportation to
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 07.19.2006The
accidental march of the penguins, er, pelicans, starts
each year with monsoon winds from Mexico, and sometimes
ends with a fight for life in the dry Arizona desert.And
for this year's crop of directionally-challenged birds,
their Arizona misadventure is all the more arduous because
the agency that normally comes to their rescue is undergoing
the agency helping them this year, instead, is being
handicapped by the drought.The pelicans accidentally
get caught on a stream of monsoonal wind at the Sea
of Cortez and find themselves in Tucson and Southern
here, they need to be rehabilitated before they are sent
to Sea World in San Diego and released back to their
Pacific Ocean habitat.The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
usually plays a big role in saving some of these young
endangered brown pelicans, but this year, because of
construction at the museum, it has been unable to take
in the confused and distressed birds. Last summer the
Desert Museum helped rehabilitate more than 26 of the
birds, said museum spokeswoman Mary Powell-McConnell.
The Tucson Wildlife Center has helped rescue the birds
the past few years, but right now they need all the help
they can get. The center is tight on housing space for
the birds, they need a lot of fish to feed them and, of
course, a lot of water.Lisa Bates, center president, said it's the busy season
for other animals in need of help, which makes the space
shortage that much worse. The center, at 13275 E. Speedway,
has a variety of animals in rehab right now, ranging from
coyotes to bobcats, raccoons to javelina.
The center uses a well for its water supply, but the well
has gone dry in the drought, Bates said.
"It's very difficult to keep the pelican's pools cleaned
and filled" with a water shortage, she
This isn't the first time the well has gone dry, she said,
but it's more of a problem when pelicans need help.The center is hoping for donations to help pay
for the water they are trucking in, as well as flights
to get the birds back to the ocean.:::snip::: (for
the rest of the story) Found
Tucson Wildlife Center, 24 hours a day, 290-WILD (290-9453)
Arizona Department of Game and Fish, 628-5376 or the
department's Tucson-area rehabilitation office, 903-1104
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum help line, 883-1380, ext.
Brown pelicans coated in oil by spill on Savannah River The Associated Press - SAVANNAH, Ga.Dozens of federally protected brown pelicans have feathers
coated in oil from an estimated 5,000-gallon spill in the
Savannah River, Georgia environmental officials said Tuesday.The pelicans, no longer listed as an endangered species
in Georgia but still protected as migratory birds, were
seen perched along the river's banks during a wildlife
assessment on the 12-miles of waterway where the oil spread
Monday from Savannah to Tybee Island."Right now it's too early to tell how many, if any,
of the brown pelicans will die," said Jeff Barnes,
an emergency specialist with the state Environmental Protection
Division. "They are cleaning themselves off, but the
problem is they get (oil) on their beaks, they swallow
it."Brown pelicans are endangered in the U.S. except for those
found along the Atlantic coast as well as in Florida and
Alabama _ areas where the birds have been considered recovered
Barnes said his team had surveyed 47 brown pelicans smeared
with oil along the river, which forms the Georgia-South
Carolina state line. They made up 19 percent of 246 of
the birds spotted Tuesday.None of the birds seemed seriously ill or dying, Barnes
said. No dead birds or fish have been found in the spill
area.He said wildlife officials won't try to capture and clean
the large pelicans unless they appear near death, for risk
of injuring the birds' fragile wings and necks.
The Coast Guard said it still had not determined what
caused the oil spill, but hoped laboratory tests would
determine the type of oil and help identify if it came
from a ship, pipeline or other source.Cmdr. David Murk, the Coast Guard officer in charge of
the investigation and cleanup, told reporters most of the
oil had settled in sea grasses along the river's southern
About three miles of the adjacent Intracoastal Waterway
remained closed to boats Tuesday with pools of oil contained
by floating booms to stop them from spreading."We don't have the product actually on the water
so much, which makes it more difficult to recover when
you get into the sea grass," said Murk, who estimated
the cleanup could take "weeks, possibly months."
A 6-inch-wide band of oil was found along 600 yards of
beach on the northern tip of Tybee Island, a popular summer
vacation spot. Murk said the beaches remained open after
officials determined there was little health risk.Because the source of the spill remains unidentified,
the federal government has brought in a contractor to clean
up the spill at taxpayer expense. Richard Grant, of contractor
Moran Environmental Recovery, said cleanup efforts were
under way with about 40 people working on the spill.Cargo ships resumed traveling the river to the Port of
Savannah late Monday after the Coast Guard had closed the
12-mile stretch, effectively shutting down the port, for
nearly 13 hours.Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. http://www.accessnorthga.com/news/ap_newfullstory.asp?ID=77849
Spot-billed Pelicans bounce back
A decade ago, things looked bleak for the Spot-billed Pelican
Pelecanus philippensis in South India. Excellent community-based
conservation work by NGOs in the region, coupled with improved
protection of breeding sites, has turned the pelican’s
fortunes around.:::snip::: <http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2006/07/pelican.html>For
details about the spot-billed: <http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/species/index.html?action=SpcHTMDetails.asp&sid=3812&m=0>
Annual visitation: Lost pelicans
in Yuma likely from Sea of Cortez
The Associated Press
Yuma is seeing the return of brown pelicans, which seem to
get lost about this time every year and end up in this southern
The pelicans land on streets and parking lots, in ponds or
sometimes along the river or canals.
Wildlife officials say the pelicans are juveniles of nonbreeding
age and were probably born late last year or early this year
at the Sea of Cortez's Pelican Island.
know just how they come through here. It might be the southwest
winds," said Kofa National Wildlife Refuge manager
Paul Cornes. http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/daily/local/19137.php
'Drunken' Pelicans Fall From Sky
Thursday, July 13, 2006, By James Longton
A toxic algae bloom along the coast is threatening the endangered
SAN PEDRO - Dozens of California brown pelicans are falling
sick, and in many cases dying, from a toxin called domoic
acid, born from an unusually large algae bloom.
Since April, nearly 100 birds have been dropped off at the
International Bird Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) in San Pedro,
half of which were dead upon arrival.
The poisoned pelicans are becoming disoriented, flying inland
and dropping aimlessly from the sky. Many have been found
meandering on land as though drunk, and in some cases, falling
to their deaths.
:::snip::: click for the complete article
In the past couple of weeks, there have been many reports
of suspicious behavior among brown pelicans and the rescue
centers continue to be inundated. More incidents are likely
to occur, as the waters south of Los Angeles Harbor were still
testing positive for the poisonous algae as of the writing
of this article.
2006, Coastal Post, Bolinas, CA
Central California Brown Pelican Deaths Likely from
Starvation and Malnutrition
By California Department of Fish & Game
Preliminary results of the California Department
of Fish and Game's (DFG) investigation into central coast
California brown pelican deaths indicate causes may be starvation
and malnutrition. The large number of recently fledged birds
competing with adults for the existing food supply might
be the reason for unusually high mortality rates.
DFG veterinary pathologists from the Marine Wildlife Care
and Research Center have been investigating the mystery
since early May, when the endangered birds first started
stranding in the Ventura area. They will continue to examine
affected pelicans and issue a report once significant findings
and summary information have been collected.
Several dozen adult and immature pelicans, either very sick
or dead were found on Ventura County beaches in May. Initially,
the birds' symptoms suggested possible domoic acid intoxication,
but laboratory test results have so far been inconclusive.
By June 1, investigators had found as many as 100 more pelicans
with similar symptoms, first in the Pismo Beach and Morro
Bay areas, and then in the Monterey Bay area. These pelicans
were almost exclusively juveniles in poor body condition.
In the last few days, investigators sent 31 dead
pelicans to DFG's wildlife care and research center in Santa
Cruz, where biologists and veterinary pathologists are examining
them. Starvation and malnutrition are the most common findings,
but one bird had a broken wing and one was heavily oiled.
California brown pelicans breed and lay their eggs in winter,
with the majority nesting in Mexico and smaller numbers
on California's Channel Islands. The eggs hatch in early
spring and chicks usually begin to fledge in May and June.
Nesting was very successful this year, with the first breeding
on Prince Island in recent history.
Both state and federal agencies have listed the brown pelican
as an endangered species since the 1970s, due to severe
reproductive failure caused by DDT pollution. Recovery efforts
over the last three decades have resulted in the seabird
again becoming a common sight along the West Coast. In light
of the rebound success, the US Fish and Wildlife Service
is considering delisting the species in the near future.
The DFG has been working with the UC Davis Wildlife
Health Center and the International Bird Rescue Research
Center throughout this investigation.
starvation and malnutrition is what has been seen in the
juvenile pelicans coming into Santa Barbara, but that still
leaves the question of why? Reports from the harbor area
and offshore fishermen indicate that there are plenty of
bait fish, so why are there so many juveniles starving?
It seems unlikely that an ignorance of fishing is the reason
- although there have been quite a few younger than usual
birds this year. Could the parents have left the nests earlier
than usual and not fed the young as long as usual(disturbance,
domoic acid?) So, the fact is malnutrition and starvation,
but that still is not the answer to the question of Why?
...One dreads to think of what next year may hold —
if, for instance, there is not the supply of bait fish and
there is a large population of juvenile pelicans.
Center Nursing Dozens of Starving Baby Pelicans Back to Health
Written for the web by Jason Kobely, Internet News Producer
enthusiasts like staffers at the International Bird Rescue
and Research Center in Cordelia don't routinely see starving
birds as a good sign. But with the center seeing a major
influx of starving baby brown pelicans over the last several
weeks, workers said it may be evidence that an endangered
species is on the rebound.
Since May, the center has received nearly 30 fledgling brown
pelicans, most underweight and washed up on Northern California
shores near Santa Cruz and Monterey, all finding a tough
time feeding themselves on their own.
"They were definitely on the brink of starving when
they came in," center rehab manager Michelle Bellizzi
said. "We don't know why these guys were unable to
feed, but we just know they came into the center and they're
really responding to fluids and nutrition."
While none of the rescue workers want to see starving birds,
Bellizzi said it could be encouraging news for the species.
Experts think an increasing number of the endangered
birds leaving the nest could be competing with each other
over a limited supply of available fish.
"This year, more than prior years, there may be more
pelicans than food along the coast," Bellizzi said.
The pesticide DDT nearly doomed the California brown pelican
to extinction in the 1970s. Once DDT was banned in 1972,
the birds began a slow resurgance. Scientists now believe
there may be as many as 7,000 breeding pairs of California
brown pelicans nesting along state shorelines. A decision
over whether to remove the bird from the endangered species
list is currently before the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Regardless of the conditions that led to their stays
at the center, staffers are focused on nursing the young
birds back to health. 11 of the 30 birds have already been
returned to the wild.
"We were going through about 100 pounds of fish every
day," Bellizzi said. With each pelican eating upwards
of seven pounds of fish per day, Bellizzi said the ravanous
birds "are eating us out of house and home."
But those fish don't come free. The center's fish bill topped
$20,000 so far this year and Bellizzi estimated each bird
costs at least $200 to rehabilitate.
For more information on how you can support the center,
Updated: 7/5/2006 6:41:54 PM http://www.news10.net/storyfull2.aspx?storyid=18581Note:
In Santa Barbara there's a similar situation, with many
juvenile pelicans --- here, however, there is no shortage
of bait fish, of food along the coast.
Wildlife officials to monitor
fireworks' effect on rare pelicans
TIKI ISLAND, Texas As families take in holiday fireworks near
Tiki Island this weekend, state wildlife officials
will be watching to see if the display is harming a nearby
sanctuary where thousands of rare brown pelicans build nests.
An unidentified Tiki Island homeowner has paid for a Fourth
of July fireworks show for the past three years at the site.
He's had it set up on a spit of land about 600 yards from
North Deer Island.
But some preservationists fear the booms and fiery sprays
of light tonight will disrupt the nesting habits of the pelicans
on North Deer Island. The fireworks, they say, may cause some
chicks to starve if their parents are so spooked they flee
the nests and lose track of their offspring.
The brown pelicans are endangered in Texas, meaning they are
protected by federal law.
Local officials and wildlife officials agencies agreed the
fireworks staging area should be moved to a tiny island a
bit farther west of North Deer Island.
But state officials will still monitor the show despite the
compromise on location.
Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com
for the longer version
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All content © Copyright
2000 - 2006 WorldNow and KGBT.
Pedro center faces influx of sick, injured birds
Sixteen Caspian and elegant terns rescued this week are
among the creatures being treated at the overworked facility.
By Lee Peterson, Daily Breeze
Already dealing with an influx of starving pelicans, the
International Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro had
to ratchet up its rehab activities this week to handle the
survivors of a mysterious case of avian mayhem off the Long
Injured birds are flocking to the center, with 185
California brown pelicans so far this year brought in suffering
from lack of food, fishing-line tangles and, in one case,
a gunshot wound.
Meanwhile, 16 Caspian and elegant terns were rescued by
center workers earlier this week from Long Beach after hundreds
of their fellow terns were found dead, washed up on the
Authorities are investigating leads as to whether
people interfered with the protected migratory birds, which
were roosting on offshore barges in Long Beach Harbor, said
Jay Holcomb, director of the rescue center.
The center, at Fort MacArthur, was busy handling a startlingly
high number of young pelicans, mostly suffering from starvation.
Thirty are in house, healing from their wounds and
building up their strength before their eventual release.
Fund raising is now an issue as the center copes with the
bills for feeding its guests. So far this year, the center
has spent $20,000 on fish.
In April, brown pelicans were literally falling from the
skies around the Los Angeles region, disoriented and injured
by domoic acid poisoning resulting from a bloom of toxic
plankton off the coast.
Now an apparent lack of fish, such as anchovies, in local
waters is spelling hard times for the birds, especially
the young. There are also cases where they've become tangled
in fishing line.
It adds up to a huge load of work for the nonprofit
bird rescue center.
"It concerns us that this keeps happening," Holcomb
Peter Wallerstein of the Whale Rescue Team has been busy
helping pelicans of late instead of his usual clients: sea
lions and harbor seals.
He's picked up 32 pelicans this month, including two in
the past week that he rescued from the bait hold of a fishing
boat in Marina del Rey and one he picked up off the Marina
(90) Freeway in the middle of the night.
"I've seen this maybe a few yeas ago where
all of these starving young ones were out there, but I don't
remember it being this bad," Wallerstein said.
Wallerstein's rescued pelicans are taken to the Wetlands
and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, which has
also had a busy season caring for injured seabirds.
published Friday, June 30, 2006
in peril: Starving birds looking for food, getting snagged
THOMAS SCHULTZ, NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER
June 27, 2006 7:45 AM
Wildlife rescue workers are scrambling to save baby pelicans
starving off the coast of Santa Barbara -- and many of the
birds are seeking sustenance off Stearns Wharf, where they
are being snagged with fishhooks.
"One bird had four fishhooks in it," said Sally
Bromfield, a director of the nonprofit and volunteer Santa
Barbara Wildlife Care Network. "It's really a problem.
"We should not feed them at the pier, because they are
hanging around like pets," she said. "The more (residents
and tourists) feed them, the more they hang around and the
more they get caught up in fishing lines."
(The SB News-Press is by subscription; click for a pdf copy,
saved for educational purposes under the fair use exception
to copyright law. The pelicans need all the help they can
Santa Barbara News-Press
Allegedly Flying Under The Influence Crashes
(CBS) LAGUNA BEACH A pelican that crashed head-on
into a car windshield may have been flying while intoxicated
on sea algae, and officials warned people Friday to be on
the lookout for more unusual animal behavior.
The California Brown Pelican flew into a car windshield
Thursday on Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach.
It was in guarded condition with internal injuries at the
Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, where
a four-inch gash in its pouch was stitched up and its right
toe was stabilized with a pin, according to Lisa Birkle,
assistant wildlife director.
Wildlife officials said the bird may have been high
on an algae in the ocean that could be reaching Orange County.
If the bird's behavior was a result of eating the sea algae
and subsequent Domoic Acid poisoning, which has affected
seabirds and marine mammals the last two months, then more
birds could be affected and people should be on the lookout
for similar unusual behavior, Birkle said.
Symptoms range from general disorientation, acting
"drunk" or just being in an unusual place, she
Any unusual behavior in pelicans should be reported to the
wildlife center in Huntington Beach at (714) 374-5587, Birkle
said.(Or in Santa Barbara, 805-966-9005.)
Brown pelicans are an endangered species that are protected
from hunters. But the government is seeking to "de-list"
them from that status because they have made a comeback
from their dwindled numbers caused by DDT poisoning years
ago, Birkle said.
clock Jun 23, 2006 2:42 pm US/Pacific
(© 2006 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
Katrina Effects Felt by Brown Pelicans
Hurricane Katrina caused massive land loss from the state's
Barrier Islands, an effect felt dramatically by the population
of our state bird.
The number of pelicans statewide is down by half compared
to last year.
As Barrier Island washed away, the nesting grounds of the
bird have also vanished.
This is usually the peak nesting season for the endangered
brown pelican, but officials say with such limited space to
fight over for nesting, some pelicans simply won't mate at
all this year.
Despite volunteer help, pelicans
Friday, June 23, 2006 By: Andrew Masuda
high number of young brown pelicans and birds of prey are
having a difficult time making it on their own this season.
Many of them are dying. From Nipomo to San Simeon, pelicans
and raptors are relying on Pacific Wildlife Care volunteers
for survival. It's a task that's proving costly for the non-profit
Baby Pelicans Starving Along
By MARCUS WOHLSEN
The Associated Press
Friday, June 23, 2006; 8:54 PM
CORDELIA, Calif. -- Miles from the shoreline, 10 baby brown
pelicans lounge by a pool in a roomy cage, large buckets
of fish there for the taking. Just days ago, these birds
could not feed themselves at all. Scores of starving baby
pelicans _ emaciated, cold and too weak to fly _ are washing
up on California beaches in disturbing numbers this spring.
what's causing the starvation when bait fish are plentiful?
Are they too young to know how to fish?
Posted on Thu, Jun. 22, 2006
Fish and Game determined pelicans deaths due to starvation
By David Sneed
Investigators with the state Department of Fish and
Game have preliminarily determined that a large number of
brown pelican deaths along the Central Coast are due to starvation
"The large number of recently fledged birds competing
with adults for the existing food supply might be the reason
for unusually high mortality rates," the agency concluded
in a press release issued Tuesday.
By June 1, as many as 100 sick or dead pelicans had
been found in Ventura and San Luis Obispo counties. Thirty-one
dead birds were sent to the state's research laboratory in
Investigators suspected that domoic acid, a toxin caused by
algal blooms, might be making the birds sick. However, testing
results were inconclusive. State officials plan to continue
their investigation into the pelican deaths and issue a final
report when their findings are final.
on Sat, Jun. 17, 2006
Pelican deaths come at crucial
Die-off that has been hitting young birds comes at a time
when the species' status is being debated
By David Sneed firstname.lastname@example.org
A recent spate of brown pelican deaths that has reached
the local coastline comes at a crucial time for the species.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering removing
the large birds from its endangered species list. The agency
recently embarked on a yearlong review of the species to determine
if the removal from the list is warranted.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Fish and Game and UC Santa
Cruz are continuing an investigation into the cause of the
deaths. Park rangers and wildlife officials in San Luis Obispo
County are collecting pelican carcasses and sending them to
the state's veterinary laboratory in Santa Cruz for examination.
"Early sampling has not turned up positive information,"
said Dave Jessup, a state wildlife veterinarian at the lab.
"We don't have anything conclusive."
About a month and a half ago, people began observing large
numbers of starving, mostly juvenile, brown pelicans in Ventura
County. The die-off has reached Estero Bay in recent weeks.
"The mortality seems to be moving north,"
Jessup said. "We are now getting some in Monterey Bay."
Biologists believe the mortality can be traced, at least in
part, to a highly successful pelican breeding season this
winter. The birds breed on rocky islands off the coast of
California and Mexico, free from mammal predators.
For the first time since 1939, pelicans this year nested on
Prince Island, an islet near San Miguel Island in the Channel
It's been a record-breaking year for young pelicans fledging,
said Mike Harris, a state wildlife biologist in Morro Bay.
"They head south, breed and nest, and then come back
to this area," he said.
Most of the starving pelicans are juveniles. Biologists theorize
that the inexperienced yearling birds are having a hard time
finding enough schools of small fish to sustain the sharp
However, disease or poisonings from toxic algae blooms may
be making the situation worse. Postmortem testing should reveal
if there is a problem wildlife managers need to be worried
about, Harris said.
Brown pelicans are one of the state's most visible and emblematic
seabirds. They are often seen plunging headlong into the ocean
to scoop up small fish in their pouches and gliding in tight
formations just above the surf.
The California subspecies of the bird was put on the endangered
species list in 1970 after the pesticide DDT thinned pelican
eggshells and caused massive reproductive failure. Human disturbance
of breeding colonies also contributed to the decline.
According to the state Department of Fish and Game, the pelicans'
decline played a significant role in raising Californians'
awareness of marine pollution and helped pass a series of
environmental laws in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Conservation efforts have helped the bird again become a common
feature along the West Coast. In December, a group called
the Endangered Species Recovery Council petitioned to have
the brown pelican removed from the endangered species list.
Where to comment
Comments on the proposal to remove the brown pelican from
the Department of Fish and Game's endangered species list
can be sent to fws8pelican email@example.com or Christine Hamilton,
2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, CA 93003.
To report a sick pelican, call Pacific Wildlife Care at 543-9453.
(OR IN SANTA BARBARA, call 805-966=9005.)
Reach David Sneed at 781-7930.
2006 San Luis Obispo Tribune and wire service sources. All
Australia: The pelican brief
Leisa Scott , June 15, 2006
What do Bridgette and Paula Powers have in common?
Well, everything – including a mission to save stricken
seabirds, and the powers of endurance to criss-cross and circle
the country, on foot and by bike.
Pelecanus conspicillatus (Australian pelican):
Found throughout Australia, this big-billed bird with the
large throat pouch weighs up to 6.5 kilograms and has a wingspan
reaching 3 metres. Can live beyond 50 years in captivity,
eats mainly fish, but has been known to drown seagulls for
food. Can soar up to 3000m on thermals.
Monozygotic powers (the Powers twins):
Located in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, these identical
twin sisters travel far and wide rescuing pelicans and other
seabirds. Now 32, they are vegetarians with an uncanny ability
to second-guess each other. They are full of surprises.
Which works a treat for the pelicans. Unable to work apart
from each other – they tried that once at Steve Irwin’s
Australia Zoo – the twins have channelled their love
of wildlife into rescuing seabirds. “Not too many people
look after seabirds – probably because they’re
smelly and have got lice and can cost a lot of money. But
we weren’t frightened about touching them, or getting
dirty or fishy.”
In fact, being a duo makes them formidable on a rescue mission.
Bridgette acts as the forward party, dangling a fish before
the wounded or ill pelican until it moves to take it. Once
it has the bait, Bridgette quickly hooks her finger into the
bird’s pouch as Paula, lurking behind, “gives
him a big bear hug”.
Of course, in the meantime, the bird is gnawing on Bridgette’s
arm but, they chorus, “when you look into their eyes,
wow”. They giggle some more and add, “We call
them love bites.” Helen, grinning, calls out from the
patio where she’s cleaning windows: “It’s
lovely having a pelican as a son-in-law.”
CA, June 14
SPCA treating starving pelicans
than a dozen young pelicans with a mysterious ailment are
being rehabilitated at the Monterey County SPCA, according
to officials for the humane society.
The pelicans found locally are among scores of starving
birds that are inundating rescue organizations throughout
The California brown pelicans are arriving at the organization's
wildlife center "cold, starving and in overall poor
body condition," according to Beth Brookhouser, spokeswoman
for the SPCA.
"They are also being found in unusual locations,"
Brookhouser said. "One pelican currently at the SPCA
Wildlife Center was discovered sitting on a tractor (in
a) field in Soledad."
Officials for the state Department of Fish and Game
is currently investigating the cause of the pelicans' problems.
Representatives for the local SPCA are asking residents
to contact them immediately at 373-2631 or 422-4721 if they
see a pelican in distress.
15, 2006 santa cruz
Sick pelicans showing up on area beaches
BY NICK GUROFF
Starving and weak baby pelicans are showing up on area beaches
in unusual numbers this month, and animal experts are not
"They're not finding food and it's hard to
say whether it's their poor foraging skills, the food is
not where it should be, or something else," said Sue
Campbell, wildlife center supervisor at the Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Native Animal Rescue in Santa Cruz has cared for 15 pelicans
already this month, and the SPCA in Monterey reports receiving
14 sick brown pelicans during the last two weeks. The SPCA
had to euthanize four birds this week due to poor health
and another died on its own. A necropsy found that some
of the birds had empty stomachs.
In Santa Cruz, the birds have been taken to Molly Richardson,
the director of Native Animal Rescue. When found, the birds
have no appetite, are weak and cold, she said.
Richardson and her granddaughters nurse the birds back to
health with a combination of hydrating fluids, Ensure and
smelt milkshakes. The pelicans were transported Tuesday
to International Bird Rescue and Research Center in Cordelia.
In the last week, the volume of sick birds increased
dramatically, Richardson said. Researchers at the Department
of Fish and Game say early indications are that the problem
is starvation and malnutrition. The problem may in fact
be the result of a successful breeding season.
"It's part of the dynamics of nature," said Carrie
Wilson, a marine biologist for the Department of Fish and
Game. "All of a sudden we have a bumper crop, so more
birds may be struggling because there are simply more birds."
The California brown pelican is protected, though the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service is considering delisting the species
in light of the population's recovery since the 1980s.
Experts say residents should not handle sick birds;
report them to Animal Rescue and the Department of Fish
and Game. The 24-hour Animal Rescue hotline is 462-0726;
Fish and Game hotline is 1-888-334-2258.
Contact Nick Guroff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find this story online at:
Copyright © Santa Cruz Sentinel. All rights reserved.
of starving pelicans perplexes local rescuers
An unusual number of hungry young birds has been rescued lately;
experts suspect a baby boom of inexperienced divers may be
San Luis Obispo, CA; Posted on Tue, Jun. 13, 2006
Animal rescue volunteers fill a bucket with small fish, and
eight ravenous brown pelicans crowd around, filling their
pouches and swallowing the fish down in bunches.
The birds are part of an unusual influx of starving young
brown pelicans that have been rescued this month around San
Luis Obispo County.
Animal rescue group Pacific Wildlife Care has rescued
23 pelicans and has received tips about dozens of others in
"This is not normal for us," said Dani Nicholson,
gesturing at the pelicans lounging on the lawn of her Cayucos
home, which is where the birds will spend from two weeks to
a month regaining their strength until they are ready for
release back into the wild.
The state Department of Fish and Game has been looking into
the phenomenon, which extends from here into Southern California,
in an attempt to find out what is causing it, said Barbie
Dugan, Pacific Wildlife Care president.
The ocean has plenty of mackerel, sardines and anchovies,
the pelican’s main prey species, so a lack of food is
not the cause.
© 2006 San Luis Obispo Tribune and wire service sources.
All Rights Reserved.
brown pelicans return to island for first time in decades
June 12, 2006
More signs of return for California brown pelicans
For the first time since 1939, endangered California brown
pelicans are nesting on Prince Island, according to UCSC seabird
biologists and the California Department of Fish and Game.
As part of a contract with the Department of Fish
and Game Office of Spill Prevention and Response, UCSC biologists
Breck Tyler and Phil Capitolo counted 43 pelican nests on
May 16 during an aerial monitoring survey of seabird breeding
colonies in the Channel Islands National Park and the Channel
Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
Prince Island, located near San Miguel Island at the north
end of the pelican's main historical breeding range in southern
California, is one of three current breeding locations in
California; pelicans nested there sporadically at least until
1939. Natural colony re-establishment at Prince Island and
other historic breeding sites could reflect the continuing
return of this endangered seabird.
back in force
By RICHARD HINTON/Bismarck Tribune
June 7. -- More than 34,600 American white pelicans,
” a near record,” are nesting at Chase Lake National
Wildlife Refuge, a breeding ground that has seen more pelican
pullouts than successes in recent years.
The population estimate is based on photos taken by the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service during a May 31 flight over the
nesting islands north of Medina.
The photos showed 17,302 pelican nests. Biologists
estimate two adult pelicans per nest, putting Chase Lake's
breeding age pelican population at 34,604 birds.
The refuge's pelican population last year was 9,425 nests,
or 18,850 birds.
The big bounce in pelican numbers is because of the successful
nesting seasons in the early 2000s, and chicks hatched in
one or more of those years now have reached breeding age,
said Tomi Buskness, Chase Lake project manager. Pelicans reach
breeding age between 3 and 5 years, she explained.
The refuge had a record high number of breeding adults in
2000, 35,466, or 17,733 nests.
"We had high years after that, 2001 and 2002," Buskness
Pelican setbacks began in late May and early June
of 2004 when about 30,000 adults abandoned the refuge, leaving
behind eggs and chicks. Biologists speculated that a coyote
intrusion may have been the cause.
An estimated 18,850 adult pelicans pulled out last year after
almost all of their chicks died following two bouts of cool,
wet and windy weather that hit the chicks after the adults
had stopped brooding them.
"They were on their own and pretty much defenseless,"
explained Ken Torkelson, a USFWS spokesman in Bismarck.
The West Nile virus also appears to be a factor in chick deaths.
Since 2002, biologists have blamed the virus for the deaths
of thousands of young birds after mid-July at Chase Lake and
other large colonies in adjacent states.
Everything appears normal this year, Buskness said.
"So far, everything is looking great. We're keeping our
fingers crossed that we don't have the weather events,"
Buskness said. "West Nile may also be a factor, but we
won't know for the next couple of months."
Before the 2004 abandonment, nesting pelicans occupied two
islands and a peninsula. Now they nest solely on the islands.
"They are in the same locations as last year, just more
of them," Buskness said.
Observers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the
U.S. Geological Survey's Northern Prairie Wildlife Research
Center, with support from the N.D. Game and Fish Department,
will continue to monitor the colony.
"We have individual monitors out three or four
times a week. We have video cameras out there too. Observation
is done remotely. If we go out there, it's done in a way that's
not disturbing to the pelicans," Buskness said.
Pelicans began returning to the 4,385-acre refuge in early
April this year and continued to arrive through late May.
"We're very encouraged by the number of pelicans that
have returned to Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge,"
said Torkelson. "However, we have a long way to go before
we can say we've had a successful nesting season."
(Reach outdoor writer Richard Hinton at 701-250-8256 or email@example.com.)
white pelican thrills PEI bird lovers
Updated Sun. Jun. 4 2006 10:29 PM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
Birdwatchers on Prince Edward Island are enjoying an exceedingly
rare treat -- a visit from a white pelican.
How rare are pelican sightings in PEI?
When conservation officer Wade MacKinnon got the call, he
thought it was a joke. "First time I got a pelican call,"
he said. Some people thought it was a bag that had blown in
The pelican really shouldn't be there.
At this time of year, one can find American White Pelicans
in the northern areas of the prairie provinces, where they
nest in the lakes. Some even reach the Northwest Territories.
The birds, with webbed feet and wingspans of up to three metres,
winter in the Gulf of Mexico and California.
There were earlier sightings of a pelican in Maine and New
Brunswick, but birders think it's the same creature.
Birding enthusiast Waldron Leard told The Globe and Mail that
it may well be the first live sighting of a pelican in PEI.
A pelican corpse was found on a beach almost 20 years ago,
Given the bird's rarity, it's no surprise that people from
Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have shown up at Black
Pond to see the white bird.
While there's plenty of fish for the pelican to feed on, there's
one thing Black Pond can't offer -- another pelican.
The big bump on the bird's orange bill means it's in the mood
"May have to wait a while," laughed MacKinnon.
With a report from CTV's John Vennavally-Rao
flock to see rare pelican
Visit to PEI puts creature 2,000 kilometres off its normal
Birders of Prince Edward Island -- and across the Maritimes
-- are atwitter after a white pelican landed on a pond last
Sunday, a rare sighting on the East Coast island.
Conservationists estimate the pelican, with its distinctive
narrow orange beak, is at least 2,000 kilometres off course
and they are puzzled at how it wound up on Canada's East
White pelicans winter in the Gulf of Mexico and
California and migrate north to Western Canada to nest in
The web-footed birds with massive three-metre-long wingspans
are a common sight at this time of year in Alberta, Saskatchewan
Some fly as far north as the Northwest Territories.
When Waldron Leard heard the news of a pelican sighting
at Black Pond on the eastern tip of PEI, he grabbed his
camera and headed to the national bird sanctuary. Mr. Leard
snapped photos of the pelican bouncing on the water, then
watched it take off.
"It's one of the most beautiful things, when
it's soaring," said Mr. Leard, who is from Kingsboro,
PEI. "It was gorgeous. It was stunning to look at.
We just have little birds here; gulls and that. This thing,
it's so big."
Mr. Leard believes it's the first live sighting of a pelican
in PEI. A pelican carcass once washed up on a beach in 1987,
Cars with licence plates from Maine, New Brunswick and Nova
Scotia have arrived at Black Pond this week to watch the
"It's just magic," Mr. Leard said. "You just
look at the thing and you realize how far away it is from
home. . . . It must have a wonderful story, how it got here."
A pelican was spotted late last month in Maine and New Brunswick,
and Mr. Leard believes it's the same bird.
So does New Brunswick conservationist David Christie, who
said a white pelican was seen in Maine on May 23. Soon after,
it was spotted in Waterside, N. B., then later near the
Bay of Fundy. Birders watched it take off last
Mr. Christie, of Mary's Point, N.B., said a stranded pelican
shows up once every four or five years in New Brunswick,
but usually at the end of the nesting season in August.
The pelican might have been blown off course by
a storm, or its navigation abilities may be compromised,
He predicted the pelican will find its way back to its flock.
"Birds are very good at navigating," Mr. Christie
said. "If they're off course and let go, they can get
back to where they should be."
a photo and another CBC story, click
white pelican (Pelcanus, erythroryncho) is the Shaq O’Neal
of North American birds.
Three dozen pelicans flying a double chevron formation stopped
fishermen, hikers and hooky players in their tracks last week
as they sailed over Riverfront Park.
The white pelican has a wingspread of 108 inches (Shaq’s
is only 84 inches). Imagine three midgets laid end to end.
In North America, only the California condor has a greater
reach with a wingspread of three midgets and one inch.
The large white birds invaded the middle Yellowstone
River in the middle of the last century. Moving their range
farther upstream each year, they reached Yellowstone County
Unlike the brown pelican that dives for fish, the whites swim
in groups, surrounding and feeding on schools of fish. Some
sport “breeding plates,” keel-like protrusions
on their upper beaks. If you see one wearing a breeding plate,
ignore him. He’s lying. Pelicans summering here are
2-year-olds, birds still too young to breed.
Try the Blue Creek Bridge at about 4:30 p.m. At other times
pelicans can be seen somewhere between the Exxon Refinery
and Riverfront Park.http://www.billingsnews.com/story?storyid=19868&issue=329
Ungainly Grace — Pelican Grace @ National Geographic Magazine
By Mel White
Photographs by Klaus Nigge
On land, the bird has been called "a feathered basset hound." In the
air, pelicans are poems on the wing.
Should we pity the poor young pelican?
The Ugly Duckling, after all, grew up to be a beautiful
swan, while the baby pelican—surely among the homeliest
creatures on Earth—can look forward only to becoming
. . . an adult pelican. Whether this constitutes much of
an improvement is debatable.
Consider some of the words used by writers from Audubon
onward to describe the American white pelican: clumsy,
awkward, ungainly, grotesque, and absurdly ridiculous.
Even the authoritative and no-nonsense new series The Birds
of North America temporarily abandons scientific detachment
to call the pelican somewhat comic, as if it were a feathered
All right, then: The pelican is no swan, all sensuous
curves and stateliness. It's chunky. It's jowly. It has
clown feet and a bill like a shovel, and it expresses sexual
ardor by turning red in the face and growing a giant wart
on its nose.
So what are we to make of the fact that those same writers
reverse themselves, often in the very same paragraph, to
call the white pelican majestic, magnificent, graceful,
and truly beautiful?
Here's the reason: Our clumsy bird stood up, waddled forward,
spread its wings, and took off. And voilà—caterpillar
to butterfly in ten seconds. :::snip:::
Pelicans sighted off Vashon Island, Puget
pelicans there were the stars of the day, with no one able
to recall seeing the birds this far north before. A long
flight for the juvenile, hatched, most likely, on W. Anacapa
Island. .Photo by Alan Berner, Copyright: Seattle Times,
pelican could be taken off endangered list
Whether to remove the California brown pelican from the federal
list of endangered species is the subject of a study announced
Wednesday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Listed since
1970, the birds are known for dramatic dives into the ocean.
They are found from the Gulf of California, between Baja California
and mainland Mexico, all the way into parts of British Columbia.
Their nests dot the Channel Islands.
The 12-month status review stems from a petition submitted
in December by the Endangered Specis REcovery Council which
seeks to remove the pelican from the list.:::snip::: SB News-Press
Christine Hamilton, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Venura 93003
-- or: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The comment period closes July 24.
VERY IMPORTANT TO WRITE THE F&W URGING THAT THE CALIFORNIA
BROWN PELICAN RETAIN ITS ENDANGERED STATUS.
WITH ONLY TWO BREEDING LOCATIONS, W. ANACAPA (ISLET) AND
SAN NICHOLAS ISLAND, THE THREATS TO THE PELICANS ARE REAL.
ALTHOUGH THEY HAVE MADE A MARVELOUS RECOVERY SINCE 1970,
SERIOUS THREATS REMAIN FROM OIL SPILLS, DOMOIC ACID, AND,
SAD TO SAY, FISHERMEN.
owners have bellyful of pelicans
By Rich Tosches, Denver Post Staff Writer; Buena Vista, Article
is a popular method of catching trout. It involves waving
a $600 graphite fly rod over the head until the sharp hook
of the artificial fly lodges in the angler's ear. Then his
friends drive him directly to a medical clinic. Unless there's
a bar along the way.
Another method consists of plunging your head into water
and coming up with the trout in your mouth. That style is
favored by pelicans because, according to biologists, the
great birds don't have $600 to spend on a fly rod.
Today, on a small lake in this small town, just as they've
done every day since they arrived a few years ago, the white
pelicans will be trout fishing. This ruffles the feathers
of the owners of private Ice Lake. They're real-estate developers
who buy the live trout for $2 a pound to stock their lake
and are trying to sell lakefront homesites - a 3-acre lot
sells for $275,000 - to fly-fishermen and other lovers of
But a single pelican, a large-jawed bird with a
9-foot wingspan, can eat three trout a day. At times as
many as 65 of the pelicans have been seen on the lake. And
while many anglers practice a catch-and-release philosophy,
pelicans are from the old catch-and-digest school.:::snip:::
Staff writer Rich Tosches can be reached at email@example.com.
kills 49 pelicans as rains pound Nakuru town
Story by NATION Reporter; Publication Date: 5/6/2006
Lightning killed 49 pelicans outside Afraha Stadium in Nakuru
Town in a heavy downpour yesterday.
The birds were scattered all over Kenyatta Primary School,
which is next to the stadium.
A school guard, Mr Daniel Mbugua, told reporters that
he saw the birds flying high before they were struck dead.
"The birds started falling down all over the place, and
two fell outside the door of my house," he said. "It
A Standard Seven pupil, Simon Chege, who was playing football
at the stadium, also told of falling birds.
"Some streetboys took one of the birds which was still
alive but dazed, and slaughtered it outside the stadium,"
"They shared the meat and fled."
Lake Nakuru National Park senior warden Charles Muthui, an
assistant director of veterinary services, Dr Michael Cheruiyot,
and park research scientist Samuel Mungai arrived at the scene
and supervised the collection of the dead birds.
Another bird which was still alive but dazed, was retrieved
from a tree branch and taken away by deputy district veterinary
officer Robert Monda, who said the carcasses would be taken
to a laboratory for tests.
Dr Cheruiyot urged the residents to report any dead birds,
and cautioned them against touching them.
"These deaths were caused by lightning, but we shall
carry out tests," he said, referring to the bird flu
scare. "We are not taking anything forgranted."
The park has about 20,000 white greater and pink-back
pelicans. Those killed yesterday had pink-backs. http://www.nationmedia.com/dailynation/nmgcontententry.asp?category_id=1&newsid=72536
Pelican pilgrimage a rarity for Tahoe: Birds
spotted at Crystal Bay this year, South Shore last year
May 3, Tahoe Daily Tribune; Andrew Pridgen; April 28, 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
That they're stopping in the basin for awhile is both perplexing
and a pleasant surprise to local birders and ornithologists.Click
"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.
Some Tahoe residents and birders were simply "stunned"
to see the large white pelicans near their homes.
noticed them at 5 this morning," Brockway resident Gale
High said Thursday morning. "Blue jays and geese I'm
used to, but I've been coming her for 62 years and living
here for 12 and I've never seen anything like it. I was wowed;
they looked like a bunch of huge white buoys floating out
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
"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.
author of "Birds of California" described the prehistoric-looking
birds in flight as "a flying circus, in the days before
human imitations had made their appearance."
Kay Edwards, a Cave Rock resident and birder, said she saw
a single white pelican near the lake's East Shore this week.
"I live right on the lake and have since '93 and this
is the only time I've seen a pelican," Edwards said.
"It's incredible ..."
Birders and curious on-lookers may want to seek out the birds
while they're in the basin, ornithologist Webb said, as the
migration "may just be a one-time thing."
the birds' apparent durability, their population has been
dwindling since the turn of the 20th century, said the California
Department of Fish and Game's Web site. At the time, the species
nested on large lakes the entire length of California, but
a decline was already underway in the 1920s, both in numbers
of breeding localities and populations within surviving colonies
(Grinnell and Miller 1944).
Today, there are no remaining nesting colonies in California
except along the Oregon border. Destruction of nesting islands
and breeding habitat are probably the main reasons for the
birds' demise, the Web site said.
I may have to even get up there this weekend," said birder
Ross. "It's a special event."
photo: Dan Thrift
/ Tahoe Daily Tribune file / A group of pelicans lands at
Lake Tahoe at the mouth of the Upper Truckee River.
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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