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Pelican News is gathered from around the world from online newspapers, magazines and plain old word of mouth. There's an emphasis on those pelicans in the western US, the California Brown Pelican and the American White Pelican. The purpose is to inform and educate. There are also occasional news of other endangered bird species and threats to seabirds, especially, but also to other birds, worldwide: see: pelicanlife's wildlife news page. The hope is to draw support for the Santa Barbara pelicans: by appreciating pelicans and other threatened and vulnerable birds, we can appreciate and support even more those rescued California Brown Pelicans, now healthy but unable to be free.

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

 

Click here for May-August, 2006, pelican news

Click here for January-April, 2006, pelican news


We're more than pelicans; check out the Wildlife News section!


Brevetoxin (red tide) in Florida | British Columbia pelican news | California north coast | Chase Lake NWR - improvement | Cruelty in the Barbados | England | E. S. A. - Brown Pelican rebound | Florida - killing pelicans | Florida - Sarasota | Florida - Sanibel | Hooking pelicans in Florida | Illinois migration | India - protection efforts pay off | Minnesota in winter and white pelican; Dec. 20 | MN 10 pelicans recover | Monofilament line - #1 killer |New Jersey brown pelicans ||| | Oregon || pelican eats pigeon | Pelican in love | Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary-cuts back ; closes | Pennsylvania - White Pelican/turtle | Red Tide in Florida | return of the brown pelican | Salton Sea | Salt Plains NWR | San Luis Obisbo - cormorant die-off | Vancouver Island | White Pelicans make a comeback |


Illness hits SW. Fla sea birds hard
Red tide likely suspect, experts say

By Kevin Lollar
klollar@news-press.com
Originally posted on December 30, 2006

Marine birds in Southwest Florida are getting sick, and the leading suspect is red tide, even though little or no red tide has been in the area for weeks.

Hardest hit have been brown pelicans in Collier County: Since Nov. 1, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Wildlife Rehabilitation Center has treated 63 brown pelicans.

"We're seeing a huge difference in pelican numbers: Last year in the same time frame, we had 17," said Joanna Fitzgerald Vaught, manager of the wildlife rehab center. "These birds have a hard time standing. There's some complete paralysis. They're flat out. They have no blink response. They're a little thin."

Because no antidote exists for red tide toxin — called brevetoxin — the birds receive supportive care.

"We rehydrate them and feed them," Vaught said. "We start tube feeding them fish mush, then whole fish as they slowly get their strength back." :::snip::: The News-Press.com

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Dec 28, 2006 9:37 am US/Central
10 Once-Sickly Pelicans Recover

(AP) Roseville, Minn. Ten once-sickly pelicans will soon have new homes, after fattening up at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota.

The birds were too injured, skinny or weak to fly south this fall. A Becker man, Kent Brunell, found most of the sickly pelicans and brought them to the wildlife rehabilitation center earlier this month.

During their stay, the pelicans each gained five to seven pounds, said Executive Director Phil Jenni. The Minnesota Zoo donated hundreds of pounds of fish to help feed the birds.

"These were so hungry they ate almost anything," he said.

While the pelicans have been more docile than some other wild animals, they still don't like to be touched. They tend to use their hooked beaks and strong wings to scratch the veterinarians.

"They're difficult to handle when we do a blood draw or give them vitamins," Jenni said.

It's not known why the birds didn't make the trip south. Tests have found the pelicans do not have lead or mercury poisoning.

"They're pretty hard-wired to make the journey," he said. "Maybe they were just getting weaker."

Most of the birds will be put into crates to be flown to Florida and Texas, where they'll be released into the wild.

There was little concern that they won't be able to get along with the healthy birds that flew south on their own.

"When we've released (pelicans) here in the fall they just swim out and they look at the bunch and they honk at each other or do whatever birds do," Jenni said. "During the spring and fall migrations they're used to a lot of strangers coming together" for the mass flights.

(© 2006 The Associated Press. http://wcco.com/local/local_story_362104255.html

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Red tide suspected in marine bird illnesses
By Kevin Lollar klollar@news-press.com
Originally posted on December 29, 2006

Marine birds in Southwest Florida are getting sick, and the leading suspect is red tide, even though little or no red tide has been in the area for weeks.

Hardest hit have been brown pelicans in Collier County: Since Nov. 1, 63 pelicans have been treated at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

“We’re seeing a huge difference in pelican numbers: Last year in the same time frame, we had 17,” said Joanna Fitzgerald Vaught, manager of the wildlife rehab center. “They have a hard time standing. There’s some complete paralysis. They’re flat out. They have no blink response. They’re a little thin.”

Since no antidote exists for the red tide toxin — called brevetoxin — the birds receive supportive care.

“We rehydrate them and feed them,” Vaught said. “We start tube feeding them fish mush, then whole fish as they slowly get their strength back.”

Most of the Conservancy's birds have been getting better in four to five weeks.

The Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife on Sanibel has been treating birds of various species for similar symptoms. Species include brown pelicans, white pelicans, cormorants, terns, gulls and several shore bird species.

http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061229/NEWS0105/312290019/1075

Also: http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061230/NEWS0105/612300418/1075

:::snip:::

If brevetoxin turns out to be the culprit in these avian illnesses, the question is how, because recent tests show no red tide or low concentrations of the red tide organism in area waters.

The answer might lie in discoveries made following another red tide event.

When 107 bottlenose dolphins died in the Panhandle during the spring of 2004, scientists found high levels of brevetoxin in their stomachs, even though no red tide was in the area.

Then scientists caught and tested live fish in the Panhandle area and determined plankton-eating fish can accumulate brevetoxin in their gut and tissues.

So the dolphins ate contaminated fish and died from red tide poisoning when red tide wasn't present.

Maybe Southwest Florida's sick birds ate brevetoxin-laced fish.

"That could be very likely, the way fish move and the way birds move," Vaught said. "For sure, fish could harbor toxin, and I can see the birds getting into the fish."

Also in the Naples area:

Red tide paralyzing pelicans
Kara Kenney
Last updated on: 12/28/2006 4:03:01 PM

COLLIER COUNTY: Officials with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida say dozens of pelicans in Naples are being poisoned by red tide. The organism has caused some of the birds to become so paralyzed, they cannot stand up or even blink.

Joanna Fitzgerald, with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, says she and her colleagues are taking three to five pelicans to the group's rehab center every day. Some are hurt from fishing hooks and fishing line, but Fitzgerald says red tide poisoning is becoming a serious problem.

Fitzgerald explained one of the pelicans she brought into the rehab center two weeks ago was so weak, he could not stand and would not eat. Though the bird's appetite has since returned, walking is still a challenge.

She says the pelican is just one of the latest victims of red tide - an algae bloom plaguing the Gulf of Mexico.

"They're very weak, they're disoriented, they're wobbly - it's almost like they're drunk," said Fitzgerald.

Other pelicans are so weak, they can't even lift their head or their wings.

"They're so paralyzed they can't even blink. So their eyes are stuck open," said Fitzgerald.

The Sceviour family spotted one sick pelican, trapped him with a garbage can, and called the Conservancy for help.

"He looked kind of slow or sick and was wandering along the street which is unnatural," said part-time Naples resident William Sceviour.

Conservancy volunteer Kelsey Worcester says they rely on calls from the community to find the sick pelicans and give them the treatment they need.

"Pelicans are big birds. You can tell when they're not feeling well because they don't struggle as much," said Worcester. "It's really sad because you realize what these birds are going through."

Fitzgerald says a large number of the pelicans are coming in from the Naples Pier. Not only is the pier area a haven for dangerous fishing line, it's also been hit hard by red tide.

"Two Sundays ago, we had five come in from the pier and every one of them died," said Fitzgerald.

Those pelicans were sent to a state lab to be tested for red tide.

Of the pelicans Conservancy officials treat, about 80-percent survive - but only with weeks of fluids, food, and a lot of care.

Once they're released back into the wild, there is no guarantee they won't be poisoned by red tide all over again.

If you see a sick pelican, Fitzgerald says the best thing to do is to trap it with a bin or a garbage can and bring it to the Conservancy's rehab center.

Because there are so many sick pelicans, there is not enough staff to go around and pick them up.

© 2006 by NBC2 NEWS.\<http://www.nbc-2.com/articles/readarticle.asp?articleid=10351&z=3&p=>

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Avian tourists show up on Vancouver Island shores

Sandra McCulloch, Times Colonist,
Thursday, December 28, 2006

Some wayward tourists have dropped into the Victoria area from California and Mexico over the last few weeks.

But brown pelicans don't do so well in the cold, and didn't bring along enough food in their 11-litre bags.

The large birds, on the U.S. endangered species list, are straying north to Greater Victoria.

:::snip:::

"We've had more [pelicans] than normal up the Strait of Juan de Fuca," he said. "We do see them off the west coast in August during the post-breeding dispersal."

Mike Yip, a birder and author from Nanoose Bay, said brown pelicans turned up in the annual Christmas bird count, particularly in the Sooke area.

"There have been some regular sightings over the past month to six weeks. They do eat fish, and I think that's the secret [to surviving winter] is if they can keep catching fish."

The pelican isn't the only non-native bird that has visited Goldstream Park. A tufted puffin was spotted in the parking lot one day, said Copley.

Perhaps these birds just take a wrong turn and can't find an easy way out to the open sea, he suggested.

The number of different species showing up "probably has got to do with warmer ocean temperatures. We are seeing a lot more of the southern species.

:::snip::: Copyright Times-Colonist

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2006, a year of many changes (July through December)

Article Last Updated: 12/28/2006 11:37:26 AM PST :::snip:::

October

:::snip::: - Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of brown pelicans were spotted along the Mendocino Headlands and elsewhere along the coast. :::snip:::

http://www.mendocinobeacon.com/local/ci_4913839


The Express-Times: Koch: Pelican sighting unusual
Sunday, December 24, 2006

:::snip:::

Last week Jason and I stood with a bunch of other birders looking at a very unusual and very big bird that put in an unexpected appearance at Green Lane Reservoir in Montgomery County. When I got the news that a white pelican was there I shook my head in disbelief.

Pelicans are birds associated with warm climates, tropical flowers and coastlines, even though that applies to brown pelicans, not white ones. White pelicans breed on inland lakes in the central and northern parts of the West and in southern Canada.

But, regardless, we still almost never see pelicans in this state, especially when the trees are bare. As you can imagine, this bird was drawing a crowd, many of whom were locals, not birders.

The first man to spot the pelican -- which wasn't hard to do since it was five feet long, and had a wingspan of about nine feet and an unmistakable bill -- captured it on film swallowing a turtle. I should probably say "digitally" swallowing a turtle. Frankly, had I not seen the images myself I'm not sure I would've believed it.

Pelicans are primarily fish eaters with the occasional crab or crayfish thrown in, but I never thought they'd down a turtle because of its shell.

How long, we all wondered, would it take for the bird's stomach acids to break down the turtle and digest it? Maybe the pelican coughed up or spit out the shell or parts of it the same way raptors and owls do to the indigestible parts of the rodents and other animals they swallow.

White pelicans feed by stirring up the water as they swim, sometimes in small groups, and then grabbing their prey in their huge pouch. Brown pelicans group together in the air and suddenly dive almost silently into the water for fish. But be it brown or white, seeing a pelican near Quakertown in December was weird.

Nature columnist Arlene Koch can be reached by e-mail at sports@express-times.com. CLICK (http://www.nj.com/columns/expresstimes/koch/index.ssf?/base/columns-0/1166936923242760.xml&coll=2)

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Anyone with information about the dead and injured pelicans found Wednesday on an island just north of Sebastian is asked to call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Wildlife Alert hotline at (888) 404-3922; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Bruce Corley, (772) 562-3909 ext. 267; the Indian River County Sheriff's Office, (772) 569-6700; or the Sebastian Police Department, (772) 589-5233.

• Along with the American white pelican, the brown pelican is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which makes it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill or sell the birds. Killing a pelican is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison and a $15,000 fine, or both.

 

9 Pelicans shot to death over weekend near the Pelican National Wildlife Refuge
By TONY JUDNICH

SEBASTIAN — City Marine Officer Tom Poore made a sad discovery on an Indian River Lagoon spoil island Wednesday afternoon: Eleven pelicans, nine of them dead and two injured.

Poore also found shotgun shells — what he called "duck shot or bird shot" — on the island, just north of Squid Lips Restaurant and Marina, 1660 Indian River Drive. He said many of the birds apparently were shot to death.

"I think (they were shot), because I've never seen that many pelicans on an island like that, and all the shotgun shells I found," he said.

Poore brought the two surviving pelicans — young adult, native Florida brown pelicans — to Highlands Animal Hospital on County Road 512. Veterinarians saved one of the birds but had to put the other to sleep.

The euthanized pelican had ingested a fishing hook and had a severe infection, veterinarian Kelly Donaldson said. She said X-rays of this bird did not reveal any gunshot.

The lone surviving bird has a wound the size of a quarter on its left wing. Donaldson said she and other veterinarians treated its infection with antibiotics and wildlife rehabilitation experts in South Brevard County would pick up the pelican to give it further care.

Veterinarians didn't find any gunshot in the surviving bird, but are not ruling out it might have been shot, she said. Donaldson said this pelican probably could fly but is too weak.

"He can get around pretty well," Donaldson said. "None of his wings are broken. He should be fine once he gets over the infection. (Injured pelicans) can recover pretty quickly."

GUNSHOTS HEARD

Late Friday, some local residents reported hearing what sounded like numerous gunshots near the island where Poore found the birds on Wednesday.

Bob Richardson, who has lived north of Squid Lips for almost three years, said he heard shots near the island Friday night, Saturday morning and afternoon and Sunday morning.

"I heard seven or eight good pops (Friday night)," Richardson said Wednesday. "I figured firecrackers, but then there was another 20 to 25 shots. They were just pounding them out. They were hunting, you could tell."

He said he didn't hear as many shots fired on Saturday, but those fired Sunday morning woke up him and his fianc'&eacutee, Betsy Valorose.

"It scared her half to death," Richardson said.

He said he called 911 after hearing the shots Friday night. Richardson said the dispatcher he talked to told him it was duck-hunting season.

Richardson said he had looked out at the island Friday and saw a white boat, about 17 feet long, and a camouflaged boat, near the island.

"One man was out of the boat, about 10 minutes after all the shooting," he said.

SHOOTING PROHIBITED

Poore said bird shooting isn't allowed on the island.

According to federal law, the American white pelican and the brown pelican are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which makes it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill or sell the birds.

He said the island is in the county's jurisdiction and Sebastian Police did not respond to the reports of gunshots last weekend. But Sheriff's Office spokesman Deputy Jeff Luther on Wednesday said the Sheriff's Office also did not respond to the area.

Poore said he reported the dead birds to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The federal agency might send someone to the island today to inspect the dead birds.

Joy Hill, spokeswoman for the conservation commission, said her agency also would investigate the matter.
Sebastian bills itself as "the home of Pelican Island." The Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is in the lagoon and a few miles south of the city.

And Richardson said he and his fiancée love pelicans.

"It just blows my mind people were shooting pelicans like that," he said.

• Anyone who sees sick, injured or dead wildlife or would like to report a wildlife violation should call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Wildlife Alert at (888) 404-3922.

• Along with the American white pelican, the brown pelican is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which makes it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill or sell the birds.

Poore said bird shooting isn't allowed on the island.

According to federal law, the American white pelican and the brown pelican are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which makes it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill or sell the birds.

He said the island is in the county's jurisdiction and Sebastian Police did not respond to the reports of gunshots last weekend. But Sheriff's Office spokesman Deputy Jeff Luther on Wednesday said the Sheriff's Office also did not respond to the area.

Poore said he reported the dead birds to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The federal agency might send someone to the island today to inspect the dead birds.

Joy Hill, spokeswoman for the conservation commission, said her agency also would investigate the matter.
Sebastian bills itself as "the home of Pelican Island." The Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge is in the lagoon and a few miles south of the city.

And Richardson said he and his fiancée love pelicans.

"It just blows my mind people were shooting pelicans like that," he said.

• Anyone who sees sick, injured or dead wildlife or would like to report a wildlife violation should call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Wildlife Alert at (888) 404-3922.

• Along with the American white pelican, the brown pelican is protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which makes it unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill or sell the birds.

tony.judnich@scripps.com, December 21, 2006 For comments on this story: http://www.tcpalm.com/tcp/local_news/article/0,2545,TCP_16736_5227773,00.html

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December 20: Pelican rescue on Pelican Lake

The bird in the hands of Kent Brunell this morning was a trumpeter swan -- apparently shot by a hunter on its right wing. But more frequently it's been Pelicans that Brunell, a former veterinarian from Becker, has rescued lately.

"A funny thing happened to me on the way to catching a pelican," Brunell chuckled, in reference to the swan he was in the process of saving.

:::snip:::

Meanwhile, Brunell recently spotted what he believes is the last pelican on Pelican Lake this season-- the sole survivor.

"I caught his buddy the other day," Brunell says, "byjust getting down on my belly and sliding on the ice right up to the shore while these two guys were sleeping. I got within ten feet of them and I was able to net one, but I couldn't get the other one and he got away from me."

Late Tuesday morning, after temporarily stowing the wounded Trumpeter Swan he'd just captured in the back of his jeep, Brunell and two helpers pushed a small boat out onto Pelican Lake, hoping to catch that last pelican. If they failed, the bird would no doubt die soon.

"It'll die like the other out here that are without food and water," Brunell predicted. They die from hypothermia, they become cold because they don't have any food in them to generate."

Soon after spying the last pelican through a pair of binoculars, the pelican flew away.

"We'll have to wait until he gets to the point where he can't fly away from us," Brunell said dejectedly, as he returned to shore. "But I'll be back out here."
http://www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=143769

 

Pelicans stay too long at their namesake lake


A retired veterinarian has come to the rescue of a small flock of pelicans that lost their way in Wright County. They are recovering in Roseville.

MAP -- By Paul Levy, Star Tribune
Pelican Lake, frozen in December, was no place for pelicans, Kent Brunell knew. But as the retired veterinarian watched several emaciated and dehydrated birds with thick bills meander from the lake near Monticello into traffic, he wondered, why did the pelicans cross the road?

"I became suspicious when I saw these wild birds -- birds that don't like to be near people -- on the road, not frightened by traffic," Brunell said Friday. "I wasn't sure how they got here, but they were obviously weakened and in trouble."

Stragglers during migration, nearly two dozen of these fascinating creatures have been sighted this week at Wright County's largest -- and aptly named, for its traditional summer residents -- lake. But with most of Pelican Lake's surface iced over, the pelicans, which need two pounds of fish per day to survive, are starving or freezing to death.:::snip::: or click here for the Star Tribune story <http://www.startribune.com/462/story/879485.html>.

 

WCCO story: Pelicans Stuck in Minnesota Lake

John Reger Reporting (WCCO) The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville, Minn. is busy with some unusual winter visitors.

Thirteen emaciated or sick pelicans have been brought in since Sunday. A dozen came from Pelican Lake in Rogers, Minn. the other from the Crow River.

"They'll no longer be able to make the migration flight by themselves," said Phil Jenni of the rehab center.

He figures they were flying from Canada to the Gulf Coast, but for some reason couldn't continue.

Three of the birds from Pelican Lake were dead on arrival. Their bodies are being tested to uncover what might have killed them. Possible causes include a virus or something toxic in the lake. :::snip:::

Click here for a video

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Pelicans come to nest in Kolleru — Efforts to protect freshwater lake in Krishna district bear fruit

KAIKALURU: Operation Kolleru Lake launched by the Andhra Pradesh Government to protect the freshwater body and its bountiful flora and fauna, seems to have paid off, with grey pelicans (Pelecanus philippensis) returning there in large numbers to nest. Over 350 nests have been recorded by the Forest Department in the Atapaka area alone.

The water-spread area near Atapaka village that has now become part of Kaikaluru town in Krishna district was a refuge for several species of water birds. Thousands of birds of different species inhabit this part of Kolleru Lake November through February. But their numbers dwindled after large-scale aquaculture started here.

The steps taken by the people living around the lake and in the island villages to protect the colonies of pelicans fascinated even the British. Gordon Mackenzie, Collector of Krishna district, recorded in The Manual of the Kistna District in the Presidency of Madras (1883) that colonies of pelicans were fostered in several villages.

But aquaculture activity frightened these large birds and they stopped nesting here. Pelican sightings became a rarity in the lake, once home to thousands of them.

A single bird was sighted in 1994 and none after that — until last year when a few pelicans were sighted. But no nests were recorded. This year Atapaka has witnessed hectic nesting.

Bird-watchers are, however, concerned about the drop in the numbers of visiting teals, pintails, pochards and ducks this season. "The euphoria of the nesting pelicans was balanced by the... absence of the ducks," says Sheik Lal Ahmed, Forest Department beat officer. He hopes more ducks would be seen next year.

Another attraction at Atapaka this year is a large number of painted storks. The large and colourful cranes have made a comeback.

G.V. Ramana Rao; Date:15/12/2006 URL: For a photo of Painted Storks: http://www.thehindu.com/2006/12/15/stories/2006121500652400.htm © Copyright 2000 - 2006 The Hindu

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Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary closes its doors to the public


Pelican Man closes

Herald-Tribune staff Photo/Rob Mattson: Jeffrey Dering, Executive Director of the Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary, attaches a hand-made sign to a front gate alerting supporters of their closing to the public, at the Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary on City Island, in Sarasota, Fla., Thursday morning, Dec. 14, 2006.

SARASOTA, By PATTY ALLEN-JONES -- Wednesday was a sad day for employees, volunteers and repeat visitors to the Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary.

At 5 p.m., the wildlife animal hospital and education center, which rescued about 5,000 injured birds a year, permanently closed its doors to the public because of ongoing financial struggles, said executive director Jeffrey A. Dering.

Donations and the number of visitors had dropped while food, medicine, fuel, insurance, maintenance and other costs increased.

"It kind of puts a finality on everything," said finance director Kathleen Myrtle as she loaded items from the gift shop into her car. "It was heartwarming to see the birds come in with busted wings get released. It was so rewarding. Now I don't know what Sarasota is going to do. If someone steps up with big bucks we can resurrect it."

Earlier this month the nonprofit agency stopped accepting new patients brought in by the community and, in October, it suspended its injured bird rescue service in order to cut costs.

Several animals have already been sent to facilities in Chicago, West Palm Beach, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Puerto Rico. Others will be cared for until they are released.

The agency finds itself facing at least a $200,000 deficit, similar to 14 months ago when Dering was hired.

Back then he and supporters raised roughly $180,000 from closing thrift stores in Bradenton and Nokomis, and selling the Bradenton property.

They need a miracle, but this time "there is no in-house angel," Dering said. "We can't afford to keep the gates open."

It's the end of a tradition for Sarasota. The sanctuary was founded in 1981 by Dale Shields, who received many honors before his death in 2003 following a heart attack.

Shields used the hood of his pickup truck to dig fishhooks from birds' wings and stitch up the wounds with cotton thread.

His first patient was a brown pelican named George, who lived in the bathtub of Shields' Golden Gate Point home and rode shotgun in the pickup.

Even under his reign the sanctuary had problems. Some board members quit in 1992 and 1993 after accusing Shields of failing to follow sound financial practices, withholding information from board members and alienating longtime volunteers.

Infighting broke out after his death, resulting in the firing of employees and the resignation of volunteers and board members.

The state shut down the sanctuary's hospital briefly for operating without a medical permit.

The organization made some mistakes, Dering said, but that's ancient history. He was hoping to unveil a capital campaign for future expansion and renovation projects, but that wasn't possible without a successful donation drive.

He had made appeals for donations, and is upset that the community hasn't stepped up to help.

"I think they don't care," he said. "If we're not here to provide this service, who will?"

There are rescue services in Venice and Anna Maria Island, but they are smaller.

The sanctuary leases two acres at 1708 Ken Thompson Parkway, next to Mote Marine Laboratory, from the city. The agreement doesn't expire until 2008.

Dering said he has kept city officials informed of cutbacks and the sanctuary's eventual closing.

City Manager Mike McNees said he is not aware of any discussions or studies on what to do with the property after it is vacated.

"I don't think there was any presumption on our part that it will be available, not until now," McNees said.

He would not speculate how it would be used. "That will be for the City Commission to decide," McNees said.

Bob and Sandy Eddy were among the few visitors who were sad to see the good work done at the sanctuary come to an end. The Sun City Center residents visited the wildlife habitat many times.

"We do try to make this a stop because they always have new birds come in that have been injured and need help," Sandy Eddy said. "We know we always see something different."

They were showing family around, and planned to return when the grandchildren came down.
patty.allen-jones@heraldtribune.com, http://tinyurl.com/y733yl, Last modified: December 14. 2006 2:43PM

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Fishermen hooking pelicans off Naples Pier

COLLIER COUNTY, Last updated on: 12/12/2006 1:08:08 AM: It's free for anyone to fish off the Naples Pier. But it seems anglers aren't the only ones interested in catching fish. Aggressive pelicans are snatching fish from the lines and unfortunately, some of them also get tangled up in the fishing line.

It's a frustration for fisherman. Pelicans instinctively trying to steal fish off the hooks but they are getting hooked themselves. By law, you're supposed to free the animals, remove the hook, and let the bird go. But that doesn't always happen. Some people don't care - or just do not know about the law.

Bob Bodeman has been fishing for years off of the Naples Pier. He says he has seen it all - including people fishing with the wrong equipment.

"They don't have heavy enough gear so it breaks the line off then you have all the pelicans running around with lures and line on them. It's a pretty bad deal. It's just doom their not going to make it," said Bodeman.

Moments after Bodeman spoke, he had some pelicans on his line.

"I've got two. How bout that - three," said Bodeman.

With help from a friend, Bodeman does exactly what you're expected to do. He walked down the pier towards shore where his friend was waiting to free the bird.

Bodeman said it could have been much worse if he had a bigger fish on the hook.

"Catch a big snook and they'll be six to seven pelicans on him trying to get the big fish," said Bodeman.

Vacationers Joann Niemasech and her fiancée were on the beach all day on Monday and they said pelicans were getting caught up in fishing line all day.

"Two of them had fishing line around their beaks," said Niemasech. "One pelican had the fish line around his legs and bumped into another pelican and they got stuck together."

There are signs posted that explain what should be done if a pelican gets hooked on your line. But Bodeman says people still do the wrong thing.

"They'll be tourists down here why don't you just cut the line cut the line we'll we don't you need to take him in and get the hook out of him," said Bodeman.

While it is rare, you can face a fine and possible jail time if caught not trying to remove a fishing hook from a pelican or any other bird because almost the entire city of Naples is a bird sanctuary.
© 2006 by NBC2 NEWS. http://www.nbc-2.com/articles/readarticle.asp?articleid=10145&z=3&p=

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Notes from British Columbia

BC pelican
Dr. Stace Gastis examines a pelican that was rescued recently near Oyster Bay.
PHOTO By Sandy Fairfield

Dec 08 2006: Gregarious and comical by nature, the Brown pelican is one bird that almost everyone can identify.

These pelicans are found along the southern reaches of the eastern and western seaboards of North America. Migration takes them into Mexico and South America, and occasionally they can be found as far north as the coast of British Columbia.

Brown pelicans are one of seven species of pelicans, and prefer shallow water along the coastlines where they rarely venture more than 20 miles offshore. Although they are quite at home sitting on pylons, piers or docks, they usually roost on sandbars and spits — but when breeding they choose small islands devoid of mammalian predators.

Waddling from side to side, Brown pelicans are clumsy on land, but in the air they are graceful flyers that glide above the surface of the water, keeping an eye out for the reflection of schooling fish.

These are large birds that can weigh between two to five kilograms; they have stocky bodies, long, broad wings, and short tails. Their legs are short and their feet are unique, having all four toes united by webbed skin.

Probably the most recognizable feature of the pelican is its “gular” pouch, which hangs from the lower mandible of a long bill and extends to become a huge, soft-skinned fishing net. This pouch can hold up to 10 litres of water and fish. It is also the pelican version of an air conditioner, as it flutters the moistened pouch to cool its body during hot weather.

Adult Brown pelicans have grey-brown bodies and wings, their necks are white and they have a yellow crown on the top of their heads. The juvenile necks and heads are all-brown. During the breeding season their colouration becomes more vibrant, especially the eyes that turn blue surrounded by bright pink skin, while the gular pouch turns bright red.

Brown pelicans’ feeding habits enchant anyone who has been fortunate enough to witness this event. They are the only pelicans that dive into the water to capture prey, and they will execute dives from 30 feet or more.

Their favourite fish are anchovies, sardines and mackerel, but they will also take prawns.

Brown pelican populations have fluctuated over the last few decades. They were on the endangered list mainly due to pesticide poisoning, which caused their eggs to break during nesting. They were also hunted for their meat and skins by the first Native Americans, and shot for their feathers to supply the millinery trade.

Today they face new perils from habitat locations in shipping lanes, close proximity to oil and chemical refineries, and also from entanglement in sport fishing gear or the birds’ pouches being torn by fishhooks. Climate changes are also affecting these birds, and El Nino has pushed some of their fish sources further north or farther out to sea.

MARS rescued a pelican two weeks ago, which was spotted off Race Rocks, Nanaimo and Comox. Finally it was captured at Oyster Bay near Campbell River.

Our thanks to Dr. Stacey Gastis who examined the pelican, took X-rays and completed bloodwork in order to rule out any major injury. On admittance to our centre, hypothermia was the main concern. After four days of force-feeding the pelican was eating on her own, and by 10 days later her appetite seemed insatiable.

We are grateful yet again to the pelican centre in San Pedro, California, for its help and advice, also to Walcan Seafood Bluewater Bait, DFO, and Coldstar Trucking which donated fish and transportation.

These are amazing birds, and if anyone would like to help sponsor her care (she will consume five pounds of fish per day) that may continue for several weeks, contact us at 337-2102.

Sandy Fairfield is the educational co-ordinator for the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS). The MARS column appears every second Friday.
© Copyright 2006 Courtenay Comox Valley Record

 

And also:

A wayward brown pelican, discovered more than 1,000 kilometres from home, is recovering from frostbite and hypothermia at a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Burnaby, B.C.

The bird was brought to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society for treatment after it was found Monday on a snow bank in White Rock.

Staff at a wildlife rehabiliation facility in Burnaby believe this pelican was blown to B.C. by last week's winter storm.Staff at a wildlife rehabiliation facility in Burnaby believe this pelican was blown to B.C. by last week's winter storm.
(CBC News)

Brown pelicans normally winter between California and Colombia, but staff believe this bird was blown to B.C. by last week's winter storm.

The bird arrived in such rough shape that it seemed unlikely to survive, said Jackie Ward, the society's animal-care team leader, on Wednesday.

Ward said the pelican was placed in intensive care, and for the first few days remained very weak while staff struggled to control its temperature.

The pelican is now alert, eating on its own and making an impressive recovery, Ward said, adding that it's been a great learning experience for society staff.

The society is working to obtain the permits required to fly the bird home to California and hopes it will be released in a few weeks.
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2006/12/07/pelican.html.

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Usually, it's the other way around....

The pelican who fell in love - with a woman
David Lister, Scotland Correspondent

A pelican has fallen in love with the wildlife officer who nursed it back to health.

The pink-backed pelican, a native to sub-Saharan Africa, escaped from a wildlife park on the Isle of Man in October and flew to Northumberland, where it was found suffering from blood poisoning.

The bird, having been taken into care by the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), soon started to show signs of affection towards Alexis Bailey, one of the charity’s workers. It displayed mating rituals whenever she entered the room and bit others who approached.

Ms Bailey, 47, who has worked at the SSPCA for eight years, said yesterday that she had never seen anything like it.

“We responded to a call to take in a sick pelican one night in October, and I was the person on hand,” she said. “I came in, gave him his antibiotics and got him settled down for the night. He seems to have been in love with me ever since.

“He looks right into my eyes and puts on what I can only describe as a mating display, with his wings up and his head bowed down. He’ll walk over to me, snuggle in and preen me. He loves to take my hair or my hand in his mouth and he also plays with my shoelaces.”

:::snip:::

Times Online December 08, 2006, Copyright 2006 — click here for the rest of the story; http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2493904,00.html


Bird sanctuary cuts back services

SARASOTA -- Continuing money troubles at Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary mean the wildlife hospital cannot accept any new bird patients, its executive director said.

The birds already in the hospital will continue to receive care, but beginning on Friday birds brought to the hospital were being referred to other qualified local rehabilitators.

In October, the nonprofit sanctuary suspended its rescue service for injured birds.

Veterinary and rehabilitation staff will care for the birds until they are released into the wild or relocated to other qualified facilities. This month several birds were flown to Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, and 15 pelicans were transported to a new home at Lion Country Safari near West Palm Beach.

The sanctuary will continue to be open to the public, at least for a while.

"We don't want to disappear," said Jeffrey Dering, the sanctuary's executive director. "Everything could change with one major donation. Our greatest hope is to restore rescue services and reopen the hospital. All it takes is money."

http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061202/NEWS/612020638
Last modified: December 02. 2006 4:53AM

More on this sad situation: Letter urging, "Bird Sanctuary needs rescuing," that Pelican Man Sanctuary on city-owned land in Sarasota be kept open; Pelican sanctuary off course: Arguing against donating to save the unreleasables, columnist Tom Lyons's main point wrote an earlier, 11/19 column, and explains, "The sanctuary is mostly a zoo now, and that's bad because it costs so much and seriously undermines the mission of helping wildlife, which has all but halted there." Letter from an area rehabber, "Smaller budgets do as well".

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Robust numbers make bird a candidate to come off endangered-species list


By Mike Lee UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER November 14, 2006

SALTON SEA – Even for veteran wildlife managers like Chris Schoneman, the carnage he saw on the Salton Sea was tough to take. Everywhere he looked were dead birds – some 14,000 in all from Aug. 15 to Nov. 15 of 1996.

Among the hardest hit were California brown pelicans, the prehistoric-looking creatures known for plunge-diving into the sea in search of fish. Botulism fueled what was billed as the largest pelican die-off in U.S. history.

Elsewhere along the California brown pelican's West Coast range, pesticides, oil spills and habitat destruction had caused the bird's population to plummet.

Despite those setbacks, decades of government protections have helped the iconic bird's overall population soar to roughly 150,000. Federal wildlife officials are expected to make a decision next month that could lead to the pelicans being taken off the Endangered Species Act list.

The pelican rebound reflects conservation gains being made nationwide. The progress comes as the protection act, enacted in 1973, is being attacked by property-rights advocates as broken and unsuccessful. :::snip:::

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/science/20061114-9999-1n14pelican.html

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Pelican eats pigeon
By Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter of The Times

PELICANS eat fish. It’s well known. Except when they have a fancy for a pigeon.
The luckless pigeon was pottering about St James’ Park in London looking for titbits from tourists when a pelican ambled up and scooped it up in its bill.
Horrified children enjoying the half-term break were reduced to tears as the pigeon struggled for 20 minutes in the Eastern White pelican’s beak before being swallowed.

The bizarre form of pest control astonished ornithologists. "All the expert books say pelicans live on a diet of fish," said a spokeswoman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. "This is quite extraordinary."
Cathal McNaughton, the Press Association photographer who pictured the pigeon being eaten, said the pelican’s actions caught everyone by surprise.

"Tourists had been standing next to it to have their pictures taken with it. It wandered up the tow path and completely out of the blue it snatched the pigeon off the ground. I was totally shocked."
Pelicans were first introduced to the park in 1664 as a gift to King Charles II from the Russian ambassador. Four Eastern White Pelicans and one Louisiana Brown Pelican are currently resident.
Eastern White Pelicans went into steep decline in the wild during the 20th century but the population is now stable with 4,000 breeding pairs.http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2419847,00.html Click for more on this.

 

October 30: "Pelican's pigeon meal not so rare," says the BBC, punning badly:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/london/6098678.stm

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Monofilament line is among the top threats to pelicans and other wildlife. Some simple steps can reel in a killer.

By TERRY TOMALIN, Times Outdoors Editor; Published October 13, 2006

TIERRA VERDE - Ten years ago, Tampa Bay Watch's Peter Clark and I visited a "bird island" near the mouth of Tampa Bay.

We had paddled out to Tarpon Key in sea kayaks to see firsthand the havoc that discarded fishing line was wreaking on a local pelican rookery.

There, hanging from the tree like macabre Halloween decorations were the emaciated bodies of dozens of dead birds.

"If you were just passing by in a boat, you wouldn't notice a problem," Clark told me at the time. "But once you get up close, you can't help but see."

The victim, an adult brown pelican, had died recently. Clark theorized that the bird had probably grabbed a piece of bait at one of the fishing piers. The angler, probably thinking he was doing the bird a favor, likely cut the line.

"Little did they know they were signing the bird's death warrant," Clark said.

Discarded monofilament fishing line is the No. 1 killer of adult brown pelicans, according to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. As the number of recreational anglers continues to increase, so does the threat to the birds considered as much a part of our state's identity as palm trees and manatees.

Pelicans aren't the only birds killed by discarded fishing gear.

"Pretty much every type of water or shore bird can get caught up in fishing line," said Mark Rachal, a field biologist with Audubon of Florida. "We find dead cormorants, anhingas, herons, egrets, roseate spoonbills ... you name it."

Many of these species are considered by state and federal officials to be "threatened" or "endangered." These birds face numerous threats to their survival, including habitat loss, storm damage and predation from animals such as raccoons.

...

But humans miles away can still have a devastating effect on these fragile ecosystems.

Birds are often hooked in the beak, wings or gullet after they strike a bait as it hits the water, or run afoul of the line as it floats in the air. An anglers' first reaction is to cut the line, which is the wrong thing to do. Anglers often get their hooks and rigs tangled in the mangroves. Rather than retrieve the tackle, they cut the line, which floats in the breeze, invisible to a bird that may land nearby.

"The problem with monofilament is that it does not go away," Clark said. "It can stay in the environment for hundreds of years."

But there is hope. Tampa Bay Watch, one of the area's leading environmental stewardship programs, and Audubon of Florida conduct cleanups on Tampa Bay's bird islands.

In 2005, 69 volunteers cleared monofilament line and other fishing gear from 43 sites in Tampa Bay and Boca Ciega Bay. They gathered more than 45 pounds of monofilament, which equaled 2,256 yards of line. The volunteers also collected the bodies of 43 dead birds, which organizers said had died as a result of entanglement.

But two birds were rescued and rehabilitated. Event organizers believe the cleanup probably saved the lives of 200 to 300 birds that could have died had the line not been removed.

...

If you do hook a seabird, slowly retrieve the line and bird, then wrap the bird's wings with a T-shirt, cover its eyes if possible, then remove the hook or cut the line as close to the hook as possible. If the bird is seriously injured, contact the FWC.

13th annual Monofilament Cleanup; When: Saturday; What: Remove fishing line and tackle from more than 50 islands throughout Tampa Bay where birds nest.

http://www.sptimes.com/2006/10/13/Gulfandbay/Watch_that_line.shtml

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NATION NEWS
Pelican injured by schoolboy's stone
Published on: October 12.

THE PELICAN which was highlighted on the cover of the last week's MIDWEEK NATION, has suffered a badlybroken wing after being struck with a stone by a schoolboy. (On 10/3 the young pelican was pictured: Photographer Cherie Pitt saw this lone pelican taking a bath in the Constitution River, the City. The bird was about a kilometre away from what was once Pelican Island, which existed in the vicinity of what is now the Bridgetown Port.)

Wayne Norville, chief inspector of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), said that with the assistance of the Coast Guard, they were able to rescue the bird around 4 p.m. yesterday evening.

He was not sure when the bird was injured.

"We had to go out in a little dingy and rescue him from the Constitution River. He was perched on a rock so we had to go over there and throw a cloth over him to bring him in.

"I am trying to locate the doctor or his assistant now because his wing is broken. I mean really broken," he said a couple hours after the rescue.

"A little schoolboy hit him with a rock over by old Rediffusion [Starcom on River Road]. Can you imagine how much pain that bird is in?" he asked in frustration.

He said he hoped that once the wing was fixed, the bird would be okay, but he said it was a "give and take" situation "because it is a wild bird".

Pelican Island, which existed in the vicinity of what is now the Bridgetown Port, was named for the many brown pelicans that nested there. The bird is featured on Barbados' Coat of Arms. (TM)http://www.nationnews.com/story/313761384374229.php

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Pelican chick rate of survival improved
By RICHARD HINTON Bismarck Tribune, 10-04-2006

American white pelican chicks enjoyed a better year at Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge this summer.

Only 12 percent, or about 1,300 chicks, of the estimated 11,000 young birds died this summer, said Ken Torkelson, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman in Bismarck.

"It's a big improvement. In the previous two years, we had virtually nothing, and when the West Nile virus first showed up, we lost between 40 percent and 50 percent," Torkelson said.

Three chicks sent to a laboratory for necropsies came back positive for West Nile, Torkelson said.

"We assume it was West Nile. We had no weather events or predation," Torkelson said.

Researchers speculated that the dry weather may have cut back on mosquitoes, which transmit the disease.

The pelicans already have begun their southern migration from the refuge north of Medina, Torkelson said.

Two years ago, adult pelicans mysteriously abandoned their nests, leaving behind chicks and eggs, neither of which survived. Last year, the bulk of the chick population died, and adult pelicans pulled out of the colony.

"It's a relief. We feel good about it," Torkelson said. "Does this mean we will have no problems with the pelicans at Chase Lake? Probably not, but we will take successes as we get them."

(Reach outdoor writer Richard Hinton at 701-250-8256 or richard.hinton@;bismarcktribune.com.)

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Pelicans make a comeback

MUSCATINE, Iowa — If you think there are more pelicans around lately, you’re right.

The American white pelican once nested here but then stopped more than 100 years ago because of loss of habitat as marshes were drained, unregulated shooting, and egg collecting, according to Doug Harr, wildlife diversity program coordinator for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR)

Later, “pelicans took a real hit in the 1950 and ’60s from DDT,” Harr said.

DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) is an insecticide that kills by acting as a nerve poison and was used to control disease during World War II, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)Web site.

“DDT resulted in thinner egg shells and the number of pelicans drastically dwindled,” Harr said. Many other species were adversely affected by the insecticide as well, causing much debate and, eventually, federal regulations banning its use. The ban took effect in 1973.

The number of pelican sightings during migration has increased over the past decade because of increased conservation efforts as well as the DDT ban.

According to Harr, records show only small migrating numbers on Iowa’s Red Rock Reservoir in 1979, building to hundreds on the larger lakes and rivers in the 1980s and ’90s. Today, thousands may be seen on the state’s large reservoirs, Mississippi River and natural lakes in northern Iowa.

“I’ve heard unsubstantiated guesses that perhaps more than 100,000 white pelicans pass through Iowa each fall on migration,” he said.

For the first time in nearly 120 years, researchers found evidence of pelicans trying to nest in Northern Iowa in 2005, according to Harr. For the past two years, a small colony of pelicans laid eggs in Emmet County. All of the eggs, in approximately 50-100 nests, were sabotaged by raccoons.

Harr said that though pelicans once nested here, they probably never did so in any large numbers in Iowa.

The American white pelican migrates from the breeding grounds of freshwater lakes in Canada and the northern United States. They travel across the Midwest on their way south to the Gulf Coast for the winter.

It is also common to see them in Muscatine County as they pass through.

Pelicans can be seen in flocks with a small number of birds, or thousands. They feed on schools of fish, primarily shad in this area. They are communal feeders, often lining up together in order to drive fish from deep to shallow water where they are an easier target.

By Melissa Regennitter of the Muscatine Journal Contact: mregennitter@muscatinejournal.com http://www.muscatinejournal.com/articles/2006/10/03/news/doc4522863c24ae7613351144.txt

 

And migration through Illinois: Pelicans Migrate Through Keokuk

By Jim Whitfield
Posted: Tuesday, October 03, 2006 at 5:50 PM

KEOKUK, IA -- The pelican has one of the biggest wingspans of North American birds and now it's using the Mississippi River as one of its major migration routes.

Over the past few days, hundreds of pelicans have been resting just below Lock and Dam 19 in Keokuk.

The birds are headed south for the winter.

Some of them will go as far south as Central America.

These birds call parts of Canada, Minnesota and Wisconsin their home in the summer.

Despite their migration with other birds, the pelican is protected from hunters by federal regulations. http://www.khqa.com/news/news_story.aspx?id=18501

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Pelicans on display today, Saturday at Salt Plains’ 7th annual celebration

— Thousands of pelicans will be on display at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge as they migrate through northwest Oklahoma. Bird tours will be held today and Saturday during the seventh annual Pelican Celebration. The tours will leave the refuge headquarters at 8 a.m. both days.
The 4- to 5-foot-tall white pelicans have a wingspan of eight feet. They start arriving at Salt Plains in early September as they migrate south from nesting grounds in Canada, the Dakotas, Colorado, Wyoming and Minnesota. They stop at Salt Plains to feed and rest before continuing their annual trek south to the Gulf Coast, where they will spend the winter.
The white pelican population has peaked at Salt Plains at 70,000 in the past. They feed primarily on small fish in the shallow lake.
Viewing sites are at the lake spillway and Cottonwood Point on Oklahoma 38, north of Jet. Visitors can stop at the refuge headquarters for information or directions to viewing sites. The Shorebird Trail, along Oklahoma 11, also is a good place to see shorebirds. There are no fees or permits required.
For information, contact Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge at (580) 626-4794.

Copyright © 1999-2006 cnhi, inc. http://www.enidnews.com/localnews/local_story_272003759.html

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Posted on Sat, Sep. 23, 2006
Die-off of cormorants investigated
About 100 are found dead, but deaths do not appear to be related to the plant, expert says

By David Sneed dsneed@thetribunenews.com

State wildlife biologists are trying to find out what caused a die-off of cormorants at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

On Aug. 15, commercial divers found about 100 dead Brandt’s cormorants on bars that cover the plant’s cooling water intake structure. The discovery of that many dead birds is unusual, plant officials said in a report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Divers collected four of the dead birds and turned them over to the state Department of Fish and Game for analysis to determine the cause of death.

"It seems like a pretty isolated event," said Mike Harris, a state biologist in Morro Bay. "There is no indication that it had anything to do with the operation of the plant."

Brandt’s cormorants are sleek black shorebirds common along the Central Coast. They are most often seen roosting in large colonies on offshore rocks.

Plant workers noticed five live cormorants struggling in the water in front of the intake structure the day before the die-off was discovered, plant spokesman Jeff Lewis said. The next day, commercial divers found the dead birds during a regularly scheduled inspection of the intake structure.

State biologists have conducted some tests on the birds and are beginning to narrow down the cause of death. Final results of the testing will be available in late October.

"We’ve pretty well ruled out domoic acid or some other algal bloom, but there’s still concern that it’s possibly some other type of toxic event," Harris said.

Plant workers report that an unusually large colony of cormorants nested on a rock near the south end of the intake structure this year. They estimate that between 2,000 and 3,000 birds nested there, Lewis said.

The cormorants were of a range of ages and were not emaciated, so Harris does not think they died of starvation, which killed a large number of juvenile brown pelicans earlier this year.

Divers regularly inspect the intake structure to check its condition and remove debris. The structure had been inspected about a week before the die-off was discovered, leading biologist to believe that the event happened quickly. http://www.sanluisobispo.com/mld/sanluisobispo/news/local/15590318.htm

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Rare visitor flies in to take a tree-top rest
Bird watchers were twitching in delight after a rare visitor made a surprise appearance over Culford.

On Monday, a great white pelican was seen roosting in a 90ft tree at the entrance of Culford School – thousands of miles from its natural African and European habitat.

For two days, the large bird got residents' feather well and truly ruffled as they craned their necks to get a look at the elusive fish eater, which is believed to have escaped from captivity.

Philippa Wyers, 32, who lives next to the tree, said: "Everybody on the school run was gazing up at the pelican. It is not what you expect to see in a village like Culford."

At about 9am on Tuesday, the pelican flew off, heading towards Brandon and it is thought the bird could survive for some time by eating fish from local rivers and nature reserves.

Chris Durdin, from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said: "I am pretty sure the pelican has escaped from captivity and it has been seen in Cambridgeshire.

"I don't know how long it will survive in the wild, but as long as the weather remains mild it should be fine.

"There are fossil remains of pelicans in the nearby Fens from when the climate was much warmer thousands of years ago."
22 September 2006 http://www.burystedmundstoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=843&ArticleID=1782198

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Return of the brown pelican

By Dr. Robert A. Hedeen, Naturalist Back

“A wonderful bird is the pelican,

His beak can hold more than his beli can.

He can hold in his beak,

Enough food for a week

But I’m damned if I can see how the helican.”

—Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1910

Most of us know the story of how the eagle, osprey and other fish-eating birds were driven to the brink of extinction by the indiscriminate use of chlorinated hydrocarbon-type insecticides such as DDT and its analogs. Few in the Midwest know that the magnificent brown pelican was included in that ecological disaster.

Though pelicans managed to eke out a precarious existence during the first two decades of massive DDT use, they were almost dealt a knockout blow in the 1960s by a government program to eradicate the fire ant from the south.

The U.S. Public Health Service launched an ill-advised program in the 1950s to eradicate the mosquito vector of yellow fever from the United States as it was feared the virus of “Yellowjack” was making its way toward this country from south of the border. Not to be outdone by the USPHS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the early1960s decided it would get into the act and undertook a massive spraying program to eliminate the fire ant, a severe and sometimes dangerous pest spreading throughout the Southern U. S. Great amounts of the potent chlorinated hydrocarbons Dieldrin, Mirex, and Heptachlor (refined Chlordane) were dumped on vast areas of the south. The program was not successful in eradicating the fire ant, but it almost eliminated the brown pelican.

By 1962, the brown pelican was considered to be wiped out west of Florida, with the exception of a few surviving in Galveston Bay, Texas. The fire ant extermination program was terminated in the late 1960s by a red-faced Department of Agriculture, and the use of Dieldrin, Heptachlor, DDT, and other potent insecticides were banned for use in the U.S. From that time until the present, the brown pelican has staged a remarkable comeback that rivals the more celebrated resurgence of the bald eagle and the osprey. Le Grand Gosier (big gullet), as Louisiana cajuns call the pelican, is still on the threatened list, but is now a common sight along the coasts of the eastern U.S. from Texas to North Carolina. In recent years, it has moved northward and is now nesting along the coasts of Virginia and Maryland.

During the 1980s and 90s, I was a frequent visitor to Gulf Shores, Ala. where I owned a condominium, andWe revel in self-pity and depression—we can’t let go of it. We’re bent on bringing retribution. We want to take revenge on someone or something, which ultimately is ourselves. one of my great pleasures while there was to watch pelicans fly by in formation offshore: flap, flap, flap, glide, flap, flap, flap. The formation of several birds would move across the seascape in perfect unison, as if they were orchestrated by some unseen conductor.

Sometimes, the birds would suddenly break formation and dive to the surface of the Gulf. There, they would swim along with their huge beaks wide open, scooping in great numbers of small bait fish into the large pouch attached to the lower jaw inside the mouth. The captured fish were then slowly swallowed into the digestive tract. This unique pouch also serves as a feeding bowl for the young at the nesting site. The mother pelican opens her beak and sort of burps, regurgitating a partially-digested fish soup back into the pouch. The young then stick their heads into the pouch and feed, in what has been described as one of the most ridiculous sights in the natural world—natural for pelicans but ridiculous for anthropomorphic humans.

Compared to many other birds, the brown pelican appears to some as the most awkward, ugly, and perhaps the most grotesque member of the bird world when perched on a piling or on a moored boat. But in flight, no one can deny it is surely one of the most graceful and beautiful of all birds.

We are thrilled when we see a bald eagle or osprey gracing our skies, but I am just as thrilled to watch brown pelicans alive and doing well in an environment that once threatened their existence. It is unfortunate that we in the Rock River Valley have to journey to the coast to enjoy the sight of these unique birds.

Dr. Robert Hedeen is a former resident of Maryland’s eastern shore and resided in the Chicago area from 1960 to 1971. He is a retired professor emeritus of biological sciences in the University of Maryland system. He has published more than 30 scientific papers, has written numerous magazine articles, and is the author of two books on the natural history of the Chesapeake Bay.

From the Sept. 20-26, 2006, issue http://www.rockrivertimes.com/index.pl?cmd=viewstory&cat=23&id=14315

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Posted on Wed, Sep. 20, 2006
Island restoration takes wing in Sarasota County

STACEY EIDSON
Herald Staff Writer

SARASOTA - From a distance, three tiny islands just south of Sarasota Bay appear to consist of little more than a cluster of mangroves.

But then a head moves. And some wings flap. And the islands come alive.

More than 800 brown pelicans, great blue herons, egrets, cormorants and other nesting birds call these small islands home.

"We had about 300 nesting brown pelicans and about 400 nesting great egrets on the islands this year," said Ann Hodgson, the Gulf Coast ecosystem science coordinator for the Audubon of Florida. "This is a very productive colony and the birds are extremely faithful to this nesting area."

In 2005, these islands, located about a mile south of the Siesta Drive bridge in Roberts Bay, supported about 940 bird nests, up from about 560 the previous year, according to Audubon's records.

However, as an increasing number of boats travel through Roberts Bay, Hodgson said the waves are battering the islands, resulting in significant erosion.

"Boats will come through here, especially during the weekend, and the waves will hit the islands and disturb the birds," Hodgson said as she drove a small motorboat several feet from the islands. "These islands get a constant wash of waves."

The islands are half the size they were in a 1967 historical aerial photo of Roberts Bay.

In an attempt to protect Sarasota Bay's largest bird colony, Sarasota County has proposed constructing a 1,200-foot crescent-shaped breakwater to allow for additional planting of mangroves and marsh grass to help prevent further erosion of the islands.

"We recognize that these islands are a valuable, but very fragile, resource," said Curtis Smith, a project scientist for Sarasota County's environmental services department. "We want to come in and protect what remains."

The county has teamed up with Scheda Ecological Associates of Tampa to complete the project, which is estimated to cost about $550,000.

Thomas Ries, of Scheda Ecological Associates, said the project was originally proposed to be funded under the federal government's ecosystem restoration program, but the federal money was pulled.

"Sarasota County realized these islands can't keep waiting for the federal government to provide the money, so it stepped up to the plate," Ries said. "Now, we are trying to figure out the timing of the project. Obviously, we are not going to be out here with cranes when the birds are trying to nest. It has to be done before the spring."

The county is preparing to begin the bidding process on the construction work, Ries said, adding that it will take two months to build the breakwater.

"It's a pretty tight timeline," Ries said. "But we want to make that deadline. If we can't, we have to wait another year and worry about even more erosion."

Stacey Eidson, Herald reporter, can be reached at seidson@HeraldToday.com or at 708-7908.http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/news/local/15560175.htm

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pelicans in Oregon

:::snip::: Brown pelicans are present along the north coast, and can be seen roosting on near-shore rocks along Tillamook and Clatsop county beaches. They are federally listed as a threatened species, but are abundant on the Oregon Coast in mid-summer to early fall. :::snip::: http://159.54.226.83/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060915/LIFE/609150301/1059


Brown pelicans a frequent sight on Long Beach Island

Scientist says it's a sign of environmental change
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 09/4/06

BY HARTRIONO B. SASTROWARDOYO
MANAHAWKIN BUREAU

BARNEGAT LIGHT — Like other regular visitors to the Jersey Shore, they show up in May or June. Unlike other visitors, though, they build their own homes and are encouraged to leave their young behind.

Some people want these visitors to come to Long Beach Island earlier in the year, around April, which they feel would help them to settle and become year-round residents.

Until the early '80s, these visitors were a fairly rare sight. But sightings of brown pelicans, once endangered and found only along the Gulf Coast, are starting to become increasingly common, particularly around the northern end of Long Beach Island.

Fred Lesser, 69, of Pine Beach, a naturalist with the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation, shares other environmentalists' hopes that the birds will settle on LBI.

"It's a good indication the environment is clean," he said.

In the '70s, brown pelicans faced extinction because of the use of dieldrin, a derivative of the pesticide DDT, which caused thin-shelled eggs to break during incubation. This discovery led to the banning of DDT in the United States.

But the slow shift northward of the pelican breeding population is an indication of a different environmental change, said Joanna Burger, a Rutgers University biological sciences professor who has done much work with marine and coastal birds.

"It's also indicative of changing coastal conditions. With some degree of global warming, fish stocks are more available, and the brown pelicans can move further north," she said.

Before the '80s, the pelicans' northernmost habitat was in the Carolinas. Then they were sighted in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay and, within a few years, settled there. Now, 1,500 brown pelicans call that area home every year.

About 20 years ago, 18 pelican nests were found on an island made of dredge spoil materials in Barnegat Inlet, but none of those nests had any eggs. This year has been a bad one, with only 40 sightings of brown pelicans, Lesser said.

Anne Pitchell, 51, of Seaside Park said she saw one in Barnegat Inlet a few weeks ago.

"I love pelicans. They look like so much fun. When I die I want to come back as one," said Pitchell, who added she has been a bird watcher for the past 25 years.

"They're so ugly, they're cute," said Mary Beth Green, 40, of Woodbridge.

Green's first encounter with a pelican was when she was in the Dominican Republic and found one swimming next to her.

"Since then, I've found them so fascinating. I've always wanted to know more about them," she said.

Hartriono B. Sastrowardoyo: (609) 978-4581 or harts@app.comhttp://www.app.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060904/NEWS/609040320/1070/NEWS02

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