than pelicans: check out the Wildlife
lake | Australia, disappearing
waterbirds | Chase
Lake | Delaware
recovery | Domoic Acid stories: Ventura,
Angeles Times ; Monterey and IBRCC
report ; Orange
County — rehabbed!; San
Luis Obispo County |Domoic Acid
- recordlevels | Flying
Saucers? | Louisiana - new life | Pelican
Man site, Sarasota, FL | Prince
George, B.C. pelican needs help follow-up |
red tide - Monterey area | red
tide confirmed - update, 2009 | Salton
Sea, diminishing # of fish, pelicans | Texas
- Bobbi Brown set free | Virginia
Beach pelicans " released | West
Nile - Medecine Lake |
West Nile-Montana, May 18;
July 27 | Wisconsin:
pelicans in Oshkosh
Department of Fish and Game leads bird rescue and recovery
effort in Monterey
Author: Department of Fish and Game (DFG)
Published on Nov 30, 2007, 08:35
The Department of Fish and Game (DFG), Native Animal
Rescue and Monterey SPCA are recovering birds affected
by a red tide protein that has caused birds to beach themselves
in Monterey Bay.
Since Nov. 8, responders have collected more than 530
live birds along with just under 100 dead birds. Responders
transport the birds to the DFG Santa Cruz facility where
staff stabilize them with fluids, and then assess and
evaluate them for rehabilitation. Birds that qualify for
rehabilitation are transported to the International Bird
Rescue and Research Center (IBRRC) facility in Cordelia.
Of the 530 collected so far, 84 are in pre-wash, 77 have
been washed and treated, and 51 have been released. Those
numbers will change as additional birds are affected by
the continued red tide event.
Types of birds affected include: common murres, Western
gulls, brown pelicans, northern fulmars, rhinoceros auklets,
red-throated loons and others.
What the public can do:
Bird rescue requires specialized training to protect
the birds and people handling them. Responders ask that
people stay away from the birds because they become scared
and will return to the water which may cause injury and
prevent the responders from collecting them.
Dogs especially should be kept back from the birds.
Beached birds reports should be made to the DFG Wildlife
Recovery Operations Unit at 831-212-7665.
Individuals interested in supporting the birds can help
by making donations to IBBRC. For more information go
to www.ibrrc.org or call (707) 207-0380.
About the red tide and protein:
Red tide events occur naturally and cause the ocean to
look maroon rather than blue when they occur.
This red tide algae bloom has an associated protein release
that is affecting a variety of marine birds in the Monterey
The protein has surfactant qualities which allow water
to penetrate the feathers, causing the birds to become
cold and unable to forage or fly. The birds then beach
Because of the current wind and wave pattern, the red
tide bloom has been circulating through the Monterey Bay
since early November. Oceanographers report that until
a weather event occurs, the unusual circulating pattern
will continue. Experts expect to see additional birds
Scientists are researching the actual source of the protein
to determine if it is actually caused by the algae or
a byproduct associated with its occurrence.
© Copyright 2007 YubaNet.com
NB: red tide is seen off Santa Barbara also; juvenile
pelicans are being brought to the SBWCN for the first
time in months, malnourished, but not otherwise sick.
Red Tide Algae is the Confirmed Killer of the Seabirds
Posted: Feb 21, 2009 06:08 PM; Updated: Feb 21, 2009
Monterey Bay, Calif- Researchers are now confirming that
it was the soap like foam substance produced by the red
tide algae, that is to blame for the hundreds of dead
and stranded seabirds found along the Monterey Bay shores
The red alga usually occurs in the summer time when they
are a few birds in the area. But with the warm weather
sticking around until late fall and with mounting pollution,
dead or stranded birds washing up on the shores of Monterey
Bay could happen more often.
"The conditions that this occurs are the kind of
conditions you might predict if global warming, global
climate change dominate our weather pattern over the next
ten or fifteen years."
Researchers were able to eliminate all other events that
occurred around the same time such as the oil spill in
the San Francisco bay and the aerial spraying that were
originally suspected but after numerous tests they found
that there was only one cause.
"We were able to produce the same phenomenon in
the lab and show in our pathology lab there was nothing
else but protein from the algae."
The protein of the algae coated the birds causing the
water to penetrate their feathers making them no longer
water proof. With their feathers soaked with water they
were unable to fly causing them to freeze and unable to
"We just didn't know what to look for last time
now with these new findings if we have another red tide
we know what to look for. Birds beaching and we'll know
how to treat them a lot better."
The California department of fish and game says that
saving the birds wouldn't have been possible with out
the Monterey SPCA, volunteers and other organizations
that contributed to the research of the red tide algae
and its effects.
Researchers say that similar events may have gone undetected
in the past but the death of the seabirds caused by red
tide algae is the first documented case of its kind in
the history of science. The report will be available on
Monday in "The Public Library of Science One" journal.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2009 WorldNow and
Fertilizer May Mean Fewer Fish in the Salton Sea
PM PST on Sunday, November 7, 2004, By JOAN OSTERWALDER
and JENNIFER BOWLES / The Press-Enterprise
A stuffed and mounted corvina is a reminder of better
fishing days at the Salton Sea.
Hanging above a bar on the eastern edge of the desert
lake, the 2-foot fish has been fodder for conversations
about the sea's abundant yield for years.
"They were real good eating," said Wendall
Southworth, 76, owner of the Ski Inn at Bombay Beach,
as he handed a beer to a patron.
Rodrigo PeÑA / The Press-Enterprise
"It's 25 percent saltier than the ocean," said Wendall Southworth,
owner of the Ski Inn at Bombay Beach, about the Salton Sea. "So the fish
that's in there, it's pickles."
But recently, the fish population in the salty waters
has dwindled dramatically, and more and more anglers are
leaving the lake empty-handed.
"It's 25 percent saltier than the ocean," Southworth
said, "so the fish that's in there, it's pickles."
Scientists studying the sea say the salt is not driving
the present decline, although it's not helping.
Rather, they say, it appears fish are failing to rebound
from another sea phenomenon. Typically occurring under
the blistering desert sun in the late summer and early
fall, thousands and sometimes millions of fish die from
a drop in oxygen driven mostly by fertilizers entering
the lake from surrounding crops.
"The frequency and intensity of fish kills have
been such that it has just overwhelmed the species' ability
to replenish the numbers," said Jack Crayon, an associate
biologist with the California Department of Fish and Game,
which conducts quarterly fish surveys at the sea.
The high amount of salt, he said, may be affecting reproductiive
ability. "But that is an unknown," he said.Fish-eating
birds, including endangered California brown pelicans,
have been on the decline as well, said Todd Stefanicwildlife
biologist at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife
Refuge. Brown and white pelicans used to number more than
20,000 in the mid-'90s, and last year only 700 showed
up, he said. This year, the pelicans slightly rebounded
to about 3,000, he said."I don't think it's any secret
that the Salton Sea is an ecosystem on the collapse," Stefanic
said. "The fish are just an indication of the overall
health, and it's not a good sign."
While only a handful of the 400 bird species that nest
and breed at the sea depend on the fishery -many eat insects
- Stefanic said everything is connected and one decline
could lead to another. The concern is deepened by the
sea's connection to the lengthy Pacific Flyway - it is
a major stopover for birds as they head south to Mexico
or north towards Mono Lake or Utah's Great Salt Lake.
"The collapse has not happened yet," said Kurt
Leuschner, 39, an assistant professor of natural resources
at the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, who leads
birding tours at the lake. "But I do worry about
The last time a corvina, like the one hanging at the
Ski Inn, was seen at the sea was 18 months ago, said Crayon.
In fact, that's the last time any of the three major
marine species, sargo and croaker included, showed up
in gill-net surveys conducted by the state wildlife agency.
"We don't believe they're absent from the sea," Crayon
said. But "their numbers are so low, they're no longer
detectable by standard survey methods."
Tilapia, a freshwater fish, seems to be the only other
major species hanging on. But while tilapia populations
came back strong earlier this year, Crayon said, the species
is still in a 90 percent decline from its most recent
peak in 1999.
Tilapia, which were brought from Africa to cut down on
vegetation in agricultural drainages, are like many invasive
species, Crayon said, in that they "just have a real
good tool kit in dealing with adversity."
In an effort to cut down on the fish kills and clean
up the lake, regional water quality officials are encouraging
the roughly 400 farmers in the Imperial Valley, which
account for 70 percent of the sea's inflows, to improve
irrigation practices to cut down on the amount of fertilizer
that runs off their fields.
The phosphorus in the fertilizers prompts the growth
of algae in the sea that choke the oxygen from the water
when they bloom, leading to the fish kills.
The Colorado Regional Quality Water Board in the next
couple of years will set a limit for how much phosphorus
can enter the sea, said Doug Wylie, a senior engineer
with the board.
What will make a dent in the interim, Wylie said, is
an already established limit expected to halve the amount
of silt coming off the fields in the next 10 years. Silt
carries phosphorus and other chemicals.
"We're beginning to implement those regulations," Wylie
said, but "nothing has really changed yet."
In addition, a field test in the works by UC Riverside
professors and the Salton Sea Authority has been testing
whether the chemical alum can prompt phosphorous to sink
to the bottom of agricultural ditches, where it can be
scooped up before entering the sea.
The fish decline has not gone unnoticed by the state,
which is charged with what will surely be a multi-million-dollar
restoration effort aimed at preventing the fish and bird
die-offs. But, officials say, a lack of long-term monitoring
makes it difficult to pinpoint or judge its severity.
"Since we lack that background, there's not much
we can say, " said Jeanine Jones, chief of the Colorado
River and Salton Sea Office for the California Department
of Water Resources. "That's a setting where the ecosystem
has been in a constant state of change."
Ron Enzweiler, executive director of the Salton Sea Authority,
said a healthy fishery is key to economic and recreational
aspirations the agency is hoping will be addressed in
a final rescue plan the state will finish by December
2006. With the decline right now, Enzweiler said, the
authority was thinking of stocking the sea with fish,
but scientists warned that it would be a futile effort
until the lake's pollution issues are solved.
"It's just not feasible in the interim," Enzweiler
Doug Barnum, the United States Geological Survey's science
coordinator for the sea, said the salt content will also
become an issue. Now hovering at 46 parts per thousand,
the salt is sure to continue rising in the enclosed sea
due to evaporation.
"We are probably pretty close to where the salinity
increases will affect adult survival," he said. "Are
we at that point? I just don't know. According to the
literature, we're on the cusp."
Sitting on a bench at the empty Bombay Beach Marina,
local anglers Jerry Stoneking, 54, and Michael Vance,
50, vividly remember the Salton Sea's glory days.
"Back in the day - 20 years ago - you couldn't feed
your hook fast enough," Stoneking said, as he gazed
at the dull lake below a cloud-streaked sky.
Down at the shore, a lone seagull strutted near patches
of foam whipping in the soft, brown waves.
Stoneking believes the fish population goes up and down
in cycles and will rebound. But he doubts the good old
times, including the ubiquitous flocks of birds, will
"The pelicans used to darken the skies," he
said, between drags on his cigarette.
Back at the Ski Inn, Bob Koger of Bombay Beach nodded
as another patron said he now fishes at nearby canals
because he's heard tales of anglers reeling in deformed
fish from the lake.
"The canal is the way to go," Koger, 48, said
as he looked up at the mounted corvina, caught long ago
from the sea.
Reach Jennifer Bowles at 951-368-9548 or email@example.com.
Reach Joan Osterwalder at 760-837-4406 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terrible truth about the disappearing birds
By James Woodford, November 6, 2004
Richard Kingsford recalls surveying Australia by air
in the 1980s for waterbirds, flying over flocks of ducks,
swans and pelicans so thick they were like clouds below
But nearly a quarter of a century since the NSW National
Parks and Wildlife Service embarked on its annual waterbird
count, Dr Kingsford has discovered a terrible truth: the
birds are disappearing.
Dr Kingsford, principal research scientist with the NSW
Department of Environment and Conservation, said they
had not gone elsewhere. They were dead.
Annually for the past 22 years the National Parks and
Wildlife Service has surveyed nearly 2000 wetlands across
four states and almost half the continent, ranging from
alpine swamps, coastal estuaries and ephemeral desert
The survey involves 100 hours of flying at heights of
as low as 50 metres above the waterways, counting as many
as 1 million birds representing 50 different species.
It is one of the largest and longest-running wildlife
surveys in the world.
Between 1982 and 1990, following one of the worst droughts
in the nation's history, the survey team averaged 850,000
birds during each survey. In the 1990s the average fell
to 400,000. Now it is half that.
"The five lowest years we have had for waterbirds
have all occurred since 1998," Dr Kingsford said.
Drought alone did not account for such a big collapse
in the nation's waterbird numbers.
"What we are doing is imposing more and more artificial
droughts on our rivers," he said.
Of particular concern to Dr Kingsford is that the Macquarie
Marshes, one the country's icon wetlands, located north
of Dubbo, has been starved because water that would naturally
flow into the swamp is now mostly stored for irrigation.
The annual aerial survey covers nearly 30 to 40 per cent
of the Macquarie Marshes. In the 1980s the study counted
an average of 30,000 birds and up to 26 species in this
northern part of the wetland.
This fell to 7000 in the 1990s. Since 2000 it has averaged
1000 birds. And, this yea the team counted fewer than
20 waterbirds of only six species.
"It wouldn't just be waterbirds that are collapsing," Dr
Kingsford said. "We know red gums are dying. If people
were actually monitoring changes in native fish species,
other floodplain eucalypts and frogs I am quite sure the
same changes would be happening across the ecological
spectrum and over a vast area of our continent. Our past
is catching up with us in a big way."
The good news is that coastal wetlands seem to be faring
better than some inland ones.
"They still seem to be going through their boom-and-bust
periods," Dr Kingsford said.
But many of the birds seen near the ocean, such as black
swans and pelicans, began their lives in the desert, and
eventually, he fears, waterbird populations will fall
in coastal areas as well. http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Terrible-truth-about-the-disappearing-birds/2004/11/05/1099547388209.html#
Tenants for Pelican Man site?
Bird-rescue group and estuary program seek leases with
SARASOTA -- A parcel of city-owned land that for decades
housed The Pelican Man Bird Sanctuary could soon see
two tenants, one of them caring for sick and injured
seabirds and the other protecting their habitat.
It is a marriage of purpose that works well for Don Chaney,
head of the Healthy Gulf Coalition. Chaney has lobbied
the city to lease the property on the south side of City
Island to Save Our Seabirds, a bird rehabilitation group
based in Wimauma, and to the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program.
"This is public land, and this is for public benefit," Chaney
The Pelican Man, a landmark wildlife hospital for 25
years, closed its doors in late 2006, citing a shortage
of cash and rising costs.
Its offices and gift shop will house the Sarasota Bay
Estuary Program, pending a lease contract with the city.
"We don't yet have a lease in place," said
Nancy Carolan, director of general services for the city. "They've
met with an architect and a contractor to get an estimate
to fix up the building."
The estimated cost for that is $150,000, but the lease
would not cost the program anything. The city and the
Estuary Program are still negotiating the details.
Carolan said the city and the Estuary Program are also
applying for a matching grant from the Florida Department
of Environmental Protection that would provide up to $150,000
to clean up the grounds and recycle building materials.
And if city leaders OK an offer by Save Our Seabirds,
the remainder of the property will be used to care for
sick and wounded birds.
Save Our Seabirds head Lee Fox said her group, which
has been in operation since 1990, has raised close to
the $200,000 needed to revamp the bird sanctuary, much
of which is not up to city code.
In July, the group asked for a 90-day extension to raise
the money, and Fox said a fundraiser over the weekend
probably put them over the top.
"The facility belongs to the community," Fox
said. "They desperately want a place to bring the
animals they see that are injured."
Fox has not finished totalling donations and pledges,
but said "it looks like we got it."
Carolan said a committee of city staff will evaluate
Save Our Seabird's proposal on Oct. 10 and decide whether
to send it to commissioners for approval.
If the Save Our Seabirds bid fails, she said another
option would be habitat restoration of the property, which
might be paid for by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Chaney said the area needs to replace the Pelican Man
because the nearest such rescue operation now is in Venice.
Last modified: September 27. 2007 4:43AM http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20070927/NEWS/709270326
Researchers investigate new suspect in West Nile deaths
September 27, 2007 -- By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service
BOZEMAN -- Stable flies are the latest suspect that may
be involved in the West Nile virus deaths of hundreds
of pelican chicks at the Medicine Lake National Wildlife
Refuge in northeast Montana. West Nile virus killed 800
to 1,000 pelican chicks in 2003, averaged 400 in each
of the next three summers and more than 600 this year.
"This is the first report of stable flies feeding
on wild birds, or pelicans for that matter, and the first
report of stable flies infected with West Nile virus," Johnson
said. "These results suggest that stable flies might
be involved in amplification and/or transmission of West
Nile virus at the pelican colony and possibly could serve
as a vector of West Nile virus to other pelicans."
If the theory proves correct, he will have to modify
some of his study methods because they currently focus
on mosquitoes, Johnson said. He added that the number
of captured mosquitoes was high this summer, as well as
the West Nile infection rate in those mosquitoes.
As far as the relationship among lice, pelicans and West
Nile virus goes, Johnson said the lice created wounds
that could be a point of entry for the virus, however
they don?t pass along the virus.
"I don't think they are playing a primary role in
West Nile transmission because they don't have to have
blood for egg development, energy and survival," Johnson
said. "Rather, they feed on epidermal or skin cells
which creates wounds, causing blood to exude and then
they feed on the blood. The wounds they cause may provide
entry sites for West Nile virus, and the young pelicans
can get infected that way. :::snip::: http://www.montana.edu/cpa/news/nwview.php?article=5161
Pelican brief: Coastal bird not uncommon in desert
By Laura Ory
Herald/Review, Published on Saturday, August 11, 2007
SIERRA VISTA — A pelican was seen flying in Tombstone
Thursday, 120 miles or more from its ocean home.
It’s an interesting sight to behold in the desert,
though not uncommon, said Sherri Williamson, a director
of the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory.
The bird seen Thursday was likely a young Brown Pelican,
which live along the Pacific coast, Atlantic coast, Gulf
of California and Mexico and are endangered along the
Pacific coast. When young, their head and neck feathers
are brown and become white as they mature.
Pelicans in the desert isn’t new, said Mary Powell-McConnell,
a wildlife rehabilitator for the Arizona-Sonora Desert
Museum. Native American drawings and stories have referenced
the birds in past centuries.
Heavy winds before the monsoon can lead juvenile pelicans
astray from their nests, or rookeries along the Gulf of
“They get caught up in these winds and get dumped
in the desert. Like Dorothy in the ‘Wizard of Oz’,” Powell-McConnell
The young birds don’t have the strength or knowledge
to find their way back home.
“The lucky ones find a lake filled with fish,” Powell-McConnell
Others are injured on cactus or concrete or become starved
and dehydrated and are brought to wildlife rehabilitators
In June 2004 Bisbee resident Frank Knight found a pelican
on Highway 90 near the Sierra Vista Environmental Operations
Park and took it to local wildlife rehabilitator Ilse
Powell-McConnell has trained wildlife rehabilitators
on how to care for pelicans before they can be brought
“Basically I stabilize them, fatten them up and
get them to Sea World,” she said.
Once in San Diego, rehabilitators at Sea World reintroduce
the pelicans into groups and release them into the wild.
She sees an influx of the birds every five to seven years
when the rookies are productive and food is available.
The number of pelicans that end up in Arizona also depends
on the directions of the winds.
Up to 26 pelicans have been in her care at the desert
museum in a single year.
This year she hasn’t had any brought to her, but
she saw one flying in Tucson this summer. Besides the
pelican seen in Tombstone this week, she’s only
heard of one other sighting in Phoenix. She expects more
in two or three years when their food supplies are replenished
in the Pacific Ocean.
REPORTER Laura Ory can be reached at 515-4683. http://www.svherald.com/articles/2007/08/11/news/doc46bd5e3e48988282741888.txt
West Nile symptoms in Montana pelicans spur mosquito
July 27, 2007 -- By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service
BOZEMAN -- The appearance of West Nile virus-type symptoms
at the Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge and the
discovery of infected mosquitoes elsewhere in the state
indicates that the virus could soon emerge in other parts
of Montana, says Montana State University entomologist
Greg Johnson. It also means Montanans should guard themselves
against the carrier -- mosquitoes.
Johnson's team of researchers detected suspicious symptoms
in pelican chicks on July 11. In the past, Johnson said,
that meant the virus would appear two to three weeks later
in other parts of the state. The Medicine Lake National
Wildlife Refuge is located in northeast Montana between
Plentywood and Culbertson.
"Mosquito collection sites along the Milk River
and Yellowstone River are usually first to produce West
Nile Virus-infected mosquitoes following virus activity
at Medicine Lake," said Johnson who warned Montanans
attending outdoor gatherings to protect themselves against
mosquitoes. The Culex tarsalis mosquito is the most common
carrier of West Nile virus in Montana. It mainly flies
between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m.
Johnson suggested that people avoid areas with high densities
of mosquitoes, such as wind breaks made up of trees, grass
and shrubs. He also suggested that people wear long-sleeve
clothing and use mosquito repellents.
"Two mosquito repellents that I would recommend
(and we use) are products containing DEET or picaridin," Johnson
The Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge is a prolific
source of mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus, Johnson
said. For the past several years, West Nile has been a
significant factor in the deaths of more than 400 pelican
chicks per year. In 2003, the virus killed four Montanans,
70 horses and more than 1,000 Medicine Lake pelicans.
Johnson is coordinating a West Nile virus and mosquito
surveillance program with the Montana Department of Public
Health and Human Services.
For West Nile updates from around the country and more
prevention tips, go to http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile
Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or email@example.com
Brown pelican set free in Quintana
By John Lowman, The Facts Published July 25, 2007
QUINTANA — Bobbi Brown is free again.
the Freeport LNG plant in December, the year-old brown
pelican exercised her prerogative to take every little
step from a dog kennel in which she rode to the beach
Tuesday. Then the bird, which LNG workers dubbed Bobbi
Brown Pelican, felt good enough to be on her own.
The animal crash-landed in a marshy area near LNG this
winter, very thin and missing feathers, said Janet Faz
with LNG community relations. Bobbi struggled over Lamar
Street to the company driveway and collapsed.
“This one was not well,” Faz said. “She
made it across the road to the guard shack and stopped.”
From there, LNG Marine Construction Superintendent Pat
Wade contacted Gulf Coast Wildlife Rescue in Richwood,
and rescue representatives took Bobbi to a site near Angleton
for emergency treatment.
The young bird had been tangled in monofilament fishing
line, suffered feather damage and was starving, said Sandy
Henderson with wildlife rescue.
All pelicans have something in common — they glide
in search of food. Bobbi was bound by her almost-invisible
ties and could not function without assistance, Henderson
said. Rescue workers urge anglers to retrieve loose line
and ask walkers to pick up any monofilament from area
“Birds can get really tangled up in the line,” Henderson
said. “A number of this one’s feathers were
broken and we had to let it molt and allow new feathers
to grow in. Once it got over its initial illness, we just
fed it and kept it healthy and happy.”
Wade used about $800 of his own money to pay for the
pelican’s fishy diet.
“Pelicans are my favorite bird,” he said. “They
don’t get too close to you, but they’re very
social animals. I’ve always liked them, and they
acclimate back into the wild very quickly.”
Which Bobbi eventually did.
During convalescence, the bird was confined to a cage
about 20 feet long and 16 feet high. She was able to spread
her wings and learn to fly again, and on Tuesday was taken
home. Except in cases of abuse, rescue workers release
animals near where they were found. The Richwood center
aids between 10 and 20 pelicans per year, Henderson said.
When she arrived back at the waterfront near Quintana
following seven months in captivity, Bobbi didn’t
take it slow when the time came to be free.
“We opened the door and she sat there for less
than a minute,” Henderson said of the morning release. “She
walked out of the kennel, waddled down toward the water
a little way and just took off. She flew and soared, then
it looked like she dove and caught a fish.
“She did great. She was happy.”
During the flight, Bobbi met up with another pelican,
and the pair eventually disappeared in the distance, Faz
said. But when the newly-freed bird revisits LNG, plant
workers will know her on sight.
As Bobbi’s feathers returned, one came in albino,
leaving a white streak on one wing. While they’ll
scan the sky for signs of Bobbi in the future, LNG employees
were happy to see her make a getaway.
“They set her down by the dock area, she tentatively
walked out, stretched her wings and took off,” Faz
said. “She flew around for a minute and decided
it was time to eat and dove into the water. That’s
when we knew she’d be OK.”
Wildlife rescue workers then hurried off to release another
bird, that one near Houston.
John Lowman covers Quintana for The Facts. Contact him
Copyright © 2007 The Facts http://thefacts.com/story.lasso?ewcd=d3a094511cfd852c
Pelicans start new life on Whiskey Island
HOUMA, La. -- Raccoon Island is a seemingly perfect place
for the booming population of endangered brown pelicans
that inhabit it: it's at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico
and offers ample bushy, black mangroves and thick marsh
grasses for nesting.
But after nearby pelican populations took a hit from hurricanes
Katrina and Rita, officials decided it was time to step
in. State Wildlife and Fisheries is moving 100 young birds
from Raccoon Island to nearby Whiskey Island to begin
a new colony of pelicans.
Whiskey Island is a barrier island that has been built
up with dredged materials and provides nesting birds more
protection from storms. :::snip:::
Still, nearly 3,600 pairs of birds are nesting on Raccoon
Island, producing about 7,000 chicks, Hess said. That's
a big population that would be very vulnerable should
another storm hit.
A group of biologists with the state and University of
Louisiana at Lafayette began catching and moving pelicans
recently. They chose birds that were 6 to 8 weeks old
_ old enough that their feathers were beginning to fill
out, but young enough that it would be a few weeks before
they could fly. :::snip:::
Though the brown pelican is Louisiana's state bird, it
had completely disappeared from the coast by 1961. The
birds began disappearing from the coasts of other states,
too. A pesticide called Endrin, a chemical compound related
to DDT, entered the bodies of many pelicans through fish
and other food sources. Once the chemical built up to
high levels, it caused them to lay brittle eggs, which
were crushed under the weight of nesting mother birds.
After the chemicals were banned, Louisiana officials
sought to rebuild the brown-pelican population. The state
brought 1,276 birds from Florida between 1968 and 1980,
resulting in a population of 39,021 nesting pairs of birds
in Louisiana by 2004. :::snip::: http://www.katc.com/Global/story.asp?S=6700158
From the Advocate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana:
Our Views: Helping out brown pelican
Published: Jul 10, 2007: The recent removal of the American
bald eagle from the Endangered Species List shows what
can happen when people harness determination and ingenuity
to address an ecological challenge.
Banning DDT, a pesticide particularly harmful to eagle
populations, coupled with other measures to protect eagle
habitat, helped bring the eagle back.
We hope ongoing efforts to protect the brown pelican,
Louisiana’s state bird, will be equally successful.
A pesticide named Endrin, a chemical compound related
to DDT, decimated brown pelican populations in Louisiana
and other areas, and the bird had disappeared
from the state’s coast by 1961.
Louisiana officials began repopulating the state with
brown pelicans brought from Florida, and by 2004, Louisiana
had nearly 40,000 nesting pairs of brown pelicans.
Now, coastal erosion of barrier islands, coupled with
powerful hurricanes, are posing another threat to the
brown pelican in Louisiana. The 2005 hurricanes wiped
out several nesting sites east of the Mississippi River,
and in 2006, the brown pelican population had dropped
Recently, biologists with the Louisiana Department of
Wildlife and Fisheries and the University of Louisiana
at Lafayette helped transfer some young brown pelicans
from Raccoon Island to nearby Whiskey Island, which provides
nesting birds more protection from storms.
The relocation program could help preserve Louisiana’s
brown pelican population if other hurricanes strike the
That’s good news for Louisiana’s state bird.
Find this article at:
Copyright © 1992-2007,
2theadvocate.com, WBRZ, Louisiana Broadcasting LLC and
The Advocate, Capital City Press LLC, All Rights Reserved.
Biologists: Average year for pelicans at Chase Lake refuge...
Chase Lake, Bismarck, ND
Jun 13 2007 4:21PM
Biologists: Average year for pelicans at Chase Lake refuge
Bismarck, N.D. (AP) Biologist say more than 22-thousand
pelicans have returned to Chase Lake National Wildlife
Refuge near Medina.
The refuge is one of the largest nesting grounds for
the big birds in North America.
The Fish and Wildlife Service says an aerial count taken
on June 2nd showed 11-thousand-262 nests. Biologists estimate
two adults per nest.
Fish and Wildlife spokesman Ken Torkelson says this year's
pelican numbers are about average.
Last year there were more than 34-thousand pelicans at
the refuge which was a near-record. It was a big turnaround
from the previous two years, when there were die-offs
Officials say West Nile Virus, bad weather and predators
like coyotes hurt pelican numbers in 2004 and 2005.
Since record-keeping began in 1972, Chase Lake pelican
populations have ranged from about 61-hundred birds in
1974 to 35-thousand-466 birds in 2000.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. http://www.kxmb.com/Sports/Outdoors/133299.asp
VIDEO: Pelican population picking up
here for video: Pelicans patrol Miller's Bay
By Aldrich M. Tan of The Northwestern, Posted June 12,
For most of the 30-some years that he has lived in Butte
des Morts, Tom Herbert never saw a pelican.
But that’s changed in the last couple of years
and recently, he saw at least 100. From his bar off of
Lake Butte des Morts, the Butte des Morts Conservation
Club co-founder spotted the birds on Terrell’s Island
on Lake Butte des Morts. The American white pelicans have
taken over the small island and covered a green patch
of land almost in white.
Pelican sightings are also increasing in Oshkosh, said
Bettie Harriman, president of the Oshkosh Bird Club. It’s
hard not to notice the large white birds with black wing
tips hovering over Menominee Park, with their nine- foot
"People driving their cars will go ‘Whoa!
What’s that?’" she said. "They’ll
think that it is a whooping crane, but it is actually
Wisconsin was never originally a summer rest stop for
the American white pelicans, which typically migrated
each year to prairie wetlands west of the state, said
Bill Volkert, wildlife educator for the Department of
But in the past five years, the birds migratory patterns
started to move eastward and Volkert is thrilled by the
"They are a wonderful asset to the area," he
said. "Here is this huge prehistoric bird that is
taking advantage to the area so it is wonderful for us
to experience and see."
The birds traditionally passed Wisconsin as they migrate,
but several younger
pelicans strayed off the path, leading to rare Wisconsin
sightings in the 1980s, Volkert said. As a long-term drought
hit the Dakotas in the 80s, a number of pelicans started
establishing nesting areas in the Horicon Marsh and on
Green Bay in 1997 and 1998.
The bird populations doubled every year as growing
flocks of pelicans returned to their Wisconsin nesting
sites. By 2004, Volkert said, he counted 512 successful
nesting pairs in Horicon. Last year, the marsh was home
to 763 nesting pairs. When the Horicon Marsh flooded
in 2005, the pelicans headed north to Green Bay.
That’s also when bird watchers like Herbert began
seeing pelicans on the Winnebago system.
Herbert said pelicans on Lake Butte des Morts are taking
advantage of conservation efforts and habitat restoration
on Terrell’s Island to build nests and rear their
young. The birds start showing up in April and disappear
by September, he said.
The nesting birds are back this year, in part because
Horicon had a pretty wet spring and good nesting sites
there are limited. Volkert said he thinks that the pelicans
are starting to find more nesting sites on Lake Winnebago
and Butte des Morts.
DNR officials have also spotted 400 birds on an island
south of Oshkosh, Volkert said. Even though they have
been spotted in Menominee Park, Harriman said the pelicans
would probably not call that area home. The pelicans prefer
to nest in areas that are less disturbed by people, like
some of the islands on Lake Winnebago.
It is too early to tell if pelicans will establish permanent
nesting grounds on lakes Winnebago and Butte des Morts,
but the success of the Horicon and Green Bay sites shows
that the pelican presence is well established in Wisconsin,
"I guess the only thing that we can say is time
will tell what the trend is, but the obvious sign is that
the bird is on the move," he said.
Harriman said that people in the Oshkosh area are going
to enjoy seeing the birds more often.
"I’m sure a lot of people are shocked because
they don’t think that we have pelicans here," she
said, "But we do now and they seem to be doing well."
Aldrich M. Tan: (920) 426-6663 or http://www.thenorthwestern.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070612/OSH/70612057/1987
Pelicans Return to Sea
Thursday, May 31, 2007, by Ambrosia Sarabia
Birds overcome domoic acid.
NEWPORT BEACH - After a two-week stay at the Wetlands
and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, nine brown
pelicans were released back to the sea on May 17.
Wildlife volunteers watched as the birds took their turn
entering the water at Marina del Rey State Beach.
"You would think after 10 years you would get used
to it," said Lisa Birkle, assistant wildlife director.
The Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center was caring for
166 birds infected with domoic acid, a neurotoxin produced
by an algae bloom. Domoic acid affects sea animals that
consume poisoned fish, resulting in seizures and sometimes
Sea lions, seabirds, dolphins and whales were sickened
along the Southern California coast during the months
of April and May.
Sick animals began to arrive at the Wetlands and Wildlife
Care Center on April 17, and the caregivers administered
"We gave them a lot of fluids, IVs and oral fluids
to flush the toxins out of their system," she said.
The algae bloom during the week of April 26 was reported
to be the highest ever recorded.
"It was a joy getting them back out there," Birkle
Pelicans or Flying Saucers?
Mysterious Entities of the Pacific Northwest
...James Easton (2000) has ventured an explanation that
begins with Arnold’s obvious distance-size-speed
misperceptions and his likening the objects’ flight
characteristics to “a formation of geese” (Arnold
and Palmer 1952, 11). Easton’s suspects are the
very large American white pelicans, who are among the
largest birds in the world, are “highly reflective,” fly
at high altitudes, and employ a distinctive undulating
flying motion, flapping and gliding, that compares well
with Arnold’s statement that the UFOs “fluttered
and sailed” (qtd. in Maccabee 1995, 1:16).
Indeed, not longer after the Arnold-Johnson sightings,
on July 2, “a veteran Northwest Airlines pilot who
has flown over the Pacific northwest’s ‘flying
saucer’ country for 15 years” spotted nine “big
round discs weaving northward two thousand feet below
us.” Capt. Gordon Moore (1947) stated, “We
investigated and found they were real all right—real
Still, not only UFO proponents but also many skeptics
doubt the pelican scenario. ...
Biologists study West Nile's effect on pelicans
By MIKE STARK, The Gazette Staff, Published on Friday,
May 18, 2007.
As mosquitoes bearing West Nile virus begin taking flight
again in Montana, health and wildlife officials aren't
just worried about people and horses getting sick.
In the remote northeast corner of Montana, a few are
keeping an eye on a huge colony of American white pelicans.
Over the past several years, the virus has chipped away
at the youngest members of the population.
Typically, mortality among chicks from mid-July to early
September is around 4 percent. West Nile, though, led
to the loss of 44 percent of chicks in 2004, 34 percent
in 2005 and 8 percent last year, when mosquito activity
was relatively low, according to scientists tracking the
virus in several white-pelican colonies.
"There's potential for this being a real serious
problem if West Nile virus persists in the populations
and thus far it has," said Marsha Sovada, a U.S.
Geological Survey biologist in North Dakota.
Medicine Lake National Wildlife Refuge, north of Froid,
is home to the continent's fifth-largest colony of American
white pelicans. On average, there are about 4,000 nests
a year there.
After West Nile virus was first reported in Montana four
years ago, scientists began tracking its presence in the
pelicans at Medicine Lake and three other spots in the
They found that the virus flares among chicks up in July,
around the time that mosquitoes are thriving in the heart
of summer heat.
Sovada speculated that the disease might spread more
easily among pelicans because they live in large groups
near the water where food is regurgitated and the virus
may have an opportunity to move from one bird to the next.
She's in the midst of tallying data from the past several
years about the effects of the virus on four pelican colonies.
Whether West Nile has a populationwide effect on the
pelicans, though, likely won't be known for several years.
On Thursday, an article in the journal Nature said seven
species of birds have declined significantly since West
Nile arrived in North America in 1999. Crows and jays
have been particularly hard hit. Pelicans weren't mentioned
in the analysis. (See also: May 17, Science
"We know it's here and it's here to stay," said
Todd Damrow, an epidemiologist for the state's Department
of Health and Human Services. "It's a public health
concern and always will be."
Story available at http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2007/05/18/news/state/25-pelicans.txt?rating=true Copyright © The
Billings Gazette, a division of Lee Enterprises.
Toxic algal blooms kill large numbers of sea animals
Domoic acid poisoning likely cause of unusually high number
of deaths this spring
By: Chintan Desai
While Jay Holcomb, director of the International Bird
Rescue Research Center, said his staff in San Pedro, Calif.
has seen large numbers of dead and dying seabirds in the
past, nothing compares to the quantity recorded of pelicans
and other bird species washing up dead on beaches off
the Southern California coast this spring.
Though the reasons for the deaths are not entirely certain,
Holcomb said many of the animals tested positive for domoic
acid poisoning, a neurotoxin naturally produced by microscopic
According to Chris Scholin, a research chair at the Monterey
Bay Aquarium Research Institute, domoic acid was first
recognized as a potential problem in 1987, when over 100
people from Prince Edward Island, Canada became ill after
eating mussels that had been feeding on algal blooms producing
the toxin. In 1991, the toxin was linked by the institute
to an accumulation of seabird mortalities. :::snip:::
Large blooms of toxic algae in Monterey Bay are
affecting marine animals
Phytoplankton in this sample from Monterey Bay include
both toxin-producing diatoms (needle-shaped cells) and
harmless "red tide" algae (orange cells).
Photo by Susan Coale.
Researchers have detected large blooms of toxin-producing
algae in Monterey Bay that appear to be poisoning marine
mammals and seabirds. Blooms of the algae, which produce
a neurotoxin called domoic acid, first appeared in southern
California earlier this spring and are now occurring along
the Central Coast.
Researchers throughout the Monterey Bay region have been
monitoring the situation closely and have detected high
levels of the toxin in the bay. Meanwhile, large numbers
of dead seabirds, as well as sea lions with symptoms of
domoic acid poisoning, have been turning up on Monterey
Bay beaches. The link between seabird deaths and domoic
acid poisoning is difficult to make, however, and researchers
are still analyzing data and waiting for definitive test
Australia: Now you see it ...
The usually arid Lake Eyre fills with floodwaters from
the northern reaches, creating a haven for wildlife and
story and photo by Paul Estcourt Tuesday May 15,
By Paul Estcourt
The most extraordinary thing about Australia's largest
lake is that most of the time you can't see it. That's
because most of the time the vast Lake Eyre Basin - all
120 million hectares of it - is bone dry.
But at present you can see the lake because heavy rains
to the north are sending vast torrents of water flowing
into the giant salt sink, which usually lies at the bottom
of the basin.
Huge flocks of birds - including thousands of pelicans,
branded stilts, rednecked avocets, gullbilled terns, ducks,
ibis and silver gulls - have already arrived in pursuit
of the explosion of algae, salt shrimp and yellowbelly
fish which comes when the lake starts to fill.
As usual, the pelicans were at the head of the queue,
thanks to an ability to detect the lightning which always
accompanies the rain, starting to arrive less than 24
hours after the arrival of the first water.
Not far behind were the eccentrics of the Lake Eyre Yacht
Club - motto: "Ya gotta be jokin'. No we're not" -
keen to take a rare opportunity to actually sail. :::snip:::
Updated: May 10, 2007 - 21:28:13 PDT
IN SAN PEDRO: Pelicans are caged at the Los Angeles
Oiled Bird Care and Education Center, where they're treated
for various illnesses including domoic acid poisoning.
(Photo by Mark Dustin / Daily Pilot)
Deadly ocean toxin at worst-ever level
Scientists find record-high concentration of domoic acid
in Southland. Deaths particularly bad for Orange County
By Michael Alexander
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The natural toxin that killed hundreds of Southern California
birds, sea lions, dolphins and other coastal marine life
in the last two weeks had been at its highest levels ever
recorded in local waters, scientists said Wednesday. And
while concentrations of the neurotoxin domoic acid are
lower now, the die-off hasn't fully halted yet.
Wildlife care and rescue staff from throughout Southern
California gathered at a bird rescue center in San Pedro
for a news conference where USC professor David Caron
announced the results. The week of April 26 showed twice
as much domoic acid as ever before, Caron said.
"This is the worst," he said. "It's the
highest numbers we've ever seen in terms of concentration."
"I think it is particularly unusual this year," said
Lisa Birkle, assistant wildlife director of the Wetlands
and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, which handles
birds found throughout much of the county. "Many
of the animals that come in are not even exhibiting seizures
this year. The birds appear to be dying too rapidly after
The animal death toll appears to be far worse in Orange
County than in Los Angeles County, officials said.
Of 165 birds taken into the Wetlands and Wildlife Care
Center, only 13 are still alive. Of 53 sea lions taken
into the Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach
this spring, all but six have died, a nearly 90% mortality
"And that doesn't count the bags and bags of dead-on-arrival
birds I haven't been able to count yet," care center
director Debbie Mcguire said.
South L.A. County has also seen animal deaths. But the
Marine Mammal Care Center in San Pedro saw only a 34%
mortality rate from domoic acid this year, said staff
veterinarian Lauren Palmer.
Even the final numbers will far underestimate the damage,
experts said. In addition to the numerous dead animals
that may never reach a care center, many surviving in
the short run may have serious brain and nerve damage,
Domoic Acid Reaches Record High Levels in California
May 9, 2007 08:07 PM; Reported by: Andrew Masuda
SAN LUIS OBISPO
There's a different danger in the water this spring that's
affecting hundreds of marine mammals and birds along the
That danger is domoic acid.
And Wednesday researchers announced that domoic acid
is at record high levels in California waters.
A dead 29 foot sperm whale washed ashore in Isla Vista
on April 8th.
That same day, this harbor porpoise died after coming
to shore at the Oceano Dunes.
They're among the more than 20 whales, porpoises and
dolphins that washed ashore in the last five weeks along
the California coast.
The alarmingly high number prompted a federal agency
to declare an unusual mortality event last week.
Wednesday, scientists in southern California announced
what may be behind this crisis off the coast.
"We've seen record high domoic acid levels this
year. A lot of the birds and sea lions and dolphins have
been affected," said Santa Barbara Museum of Natural
History Michelle Berman.
Scientists said domoic acid levels are extremely high
in the waters off southern California and Monterey, which
scares volunteers on the central coast.
This pair of birds is among the 125 marine birds Pacific
Wildlife Care volunteers have treated this spring.
That's already more than what they see in a typical year.
"This isn't even the busy season yet. So that's
why when you hear domoic acid is it's worst ever, I have
no idea what off the charts could even be at this point," said
Pacific Wildlife Care President Dani Nicholson.
Volunteers said almost all of the birds they've seen
so far were starving or oiled, not suffering from domoic
They fear they'll be flooded with more birds, especially
brown pelicans, if southern California waters flow north.
Domoic acid has been around for years and occurs naturally
Still, researchers said they simply don't know for sure
yet what's behind this year's record high.
Pacific Wildlife Care and the Marine Mammal Center operate
entirely through donations and volunteers.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2007 WorldNow and
KSBY. All Rights Reserved.
Have pity for the pelican
Public’s help needed with care costs
Friday, 04 May 2007, 05:00 PST
by BERNICE TRICK Citizen staff
The public's help is needed to save an endangered bird
with a badly broken leg that is in Prince George to receive
n, is being cared for by Rachel
Morey, owner of Northern Wildlife Rescue, a non-profit
organization which specializes in mammals and birds of
prey, based in Pineview.
"The cost could run anywhere from $500 to $2,000," Morey
said. "White pelicans are red listed meaning they
are an endangered species."
She believes this male bird that stands a couple of feet
tall probably came from the unique colony of white pelicans
at Stum Lake near Williams Lake.
"He somehow ended up with the Quesnel SPCA, where
the bird was named, and volunteers from here went and
got him since ours is the only sanctuary in the region," Morey
said as she donned a pair of gloves to remove the big
bird from his cage to have his picture taken.
"He's very feisty. Even with a broken leg they'll
fight tooth and nail to the end," she said as she
dodged Mr. Peabody's 14-inch long orange beak as he continually
snapped at her face.
"His leg is badly broken and a veterinarian will
determine if it can be saved with surgery or pinning,
or if it has to be amputated," said Morey.
"One-legged and pirate-legged birds (ones with an
artificial leg) can survive in the wild on their own.
This one will be staying with us until he can prove he
can do that," said Morey. If it's shown he cannot
survive on his own, he'll be moved to a long-term wildlife
"He would still have opportunities to breed and
contribute to his endangered species."
In the meantime, she's feeding him rainbow trout to satisfy
his big appetite.'
Anyone wishing to contribute to the white pelican's recovery
can donate at Total Pet, 1915 Victoria St., or call Morey
Follow-up: May 9:
Injuries claim pelican
by BERNICE TRICK Citizen staff
Mr. Peabody, the white pelican with a badly broken leg,
has lost his battle to survive, says the owner of Northern
Rachel Morey said the bird was euthanized following examinations
by several veterinarians, who agreed the kindest treatment
was to end the bird's suffering.
"His leg was so shattered that pinning it wouldn't
work and amputation wasn't an option because the way his
body was built would put too much strain on one leg. He
also suffered a lot of inside muscular tissue damage that
would cause infection internally."
Morey said Mr. Peabody was showing signs of stress from
his discomfort and had become lethargic as his feistiness
waned along with his appetite and energy.
"It was upsetting to see a bird so strong and feisty
have to give up. It ended up being out of everyone's control," said
Morey, who thanks the people who contributed about $500
for the pelican's treatment after a story in Friday's
"Most of it will be used for his treatment costs,
and if there is anything left over, we'll purchase formula
for baby animals like fawns and moose calves that are
always brought to us during the spring," she said.
It's believed the mature bird, which was brought to Prince
George from the Quesnel SPCA, came from a unique colony
of white pelicans at Stum Lake near Williams Lake.
White pelican are red -listed, meaning they are an endangered
Northern Wildlife Rescue is a non-profit organization
based in Pineview that specializes in care of mammals
and birds of prey. Morey can be contacted at 963-3373. <http://www.princegeorgecitizen.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=69931&Itemid=159>
Ocean toxin killing mammals and
birds — Domoic acid outbreak
could be worst in 5 years
By Zeke Barlow
Friday, April 27, 2007
Birds and marine mammals are turning up dead or dying
along Ventura County beaches in what some are predicting
will be one of the worst domoic acid outbreaks in five
Unlike many years, when sea lions bear the brunt of the
ocean toxin, birds such a pelicans and grebes seem to
be getting hit the hardest this year. Kathy Fischer, stranding
coordinator for the Organization for the Respect and Care
for Animals, was looking for sick sea lions on Saturday
but saw more than 80 dead birds on beaches.
"If it's starting out this early, it's kind of a
scary thought," said June Taylor, a volunteer who
rehabilitates birds with Santa Barbara Wildlife. The outbreaks
often don't come until May or later.
Domoic acid is a naturally occurring toxin in algae that
is eaten by small fish. Larger animals that eat too many
of the small fish can end up with neurological problems
that lead to death.
Though the acid itself is natural, scientists are studying
to see if an increase in the amount of it is caused by
pollution, warming oceans or some other cause.
National Marine Fisheries Service wildlife biologist
Joe Cordero said this year's early start of the domoic
season could be a harbinger of a time like 2002, when
hundreds of marine mammals died along Southern California's
coast. As many as 53 were dying on Ventura County's beaches
at its peak.
This year's outbreak spreads from Santa Barbara to San
Diego counties, Cordero said.
Cordero said that while a sick, dying mammal is often
hard for people to see, the deaths have little affect
on overall populations. With more than 200,000 sea lions
in California, the deaths represent less than 1 percent
of the population, he said.
The annual quarantine against the recreational harvesting
of mussels started early this year because of an elevated
level of toxins, which may include domoic acid. The ban,
which usually doesn't start until May 1, continues through
Oct. 31 to protect people from becoming ill from eating
This month, 24 sea lions have been found sick in the
county, Cordero said. Fischer said so far this month the
most in one day is 10.
Just because the animals are taken to rehabilitation
centers in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties doesn't
mean they make it back into the wild.
Of the 15 sea lions taken to the Pacific Marine Mammal
Center in Laguna Beach this year, 10 have died. Though
the sheer numbers aren't as high as those in 2002, the
animals seem to be coming in much sicker and there is
little that can be done for them, said Michelle Hunter,
director of operations and animal care at the center.
"It seems like we didn't even get them off the beach
and they died," Hunter said.
The birds aren't faring much better.
"There are a lot of bird that are washing up dead," Taylor
Last year Taylor didn't see any birds that had the symptoms
of domoic acid. Fischer said that in the past few years
she saw only a handful of sea lions.
Peter Wallerstein, who runs the Whale Rescue Team in
Los Angeles, said while he usually sees pregnant females
with domoic acid symptoms, many of the animals this year
are males and juveniles that seem sicker than normal.
"This year it's nondiscriminatory," he said. "It
tells me that the bloom must be quite potent."
Cordero said a necropsy is being done on a minke whale
that was found dead in Ventura recently to see if it had
Scientists in places such as The Marine Mammal Center
in Sausalito are looking into the effects of the acid,
which scientists hope will lead to a better understanding
of its origin.
The acid causes neurological damage, causing animals
to have seizures.
The most infamous domoic outbreak may have occurred in
1961, when a flock of birds went crazy on the California
coast. News accounts led Alfred Hitchcock to make the
movie "The Birds."
Cordero advises anyone who finds sick animals to leave
them alone and call one of the rehabilitation groups.
Numbers to call include 477-2265 for mammals, 479-8965
for pelicans, and 967-1028 for all other birds.
All groups need volunteers to help transport the animals
to rehabilitation sites.
© 2007 Ventura County Star
See also: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-birds27apr27,0,6317897.story?coll=la-home-local
Marine deaths linked to toxin
Algae bloom that sickens birds and mammals is 'especially
virulent' this spring.
By Amanda Covarrubias, Times Staff Writer
April 27, 2007
A particularly virulent outbreak of naturally occurring
toxin off the California coast has been linked to the
deaths of hundreds of marine mammals and birds in recent
weeks, researchers said Thursday.
"I have been doing this work for 35 years and I
have never seen anything like this as far as the number
of species affected, other than an oil spill," said
Jay Holcomb, director of the International Bird Rescue
Research Center in San Pedro. Local beaches have been
littered with sick and dead pelicans, sea lions and dolphins.
The center is working closely with the Caron Laboratory,
which is conducting analysis of sick birds found on beaches.
"In five years of study I have not seen a bloom
this large at this particular time of year," said
Professor Dave A. Caron, the lab's director and a biological
oceanographer. "It's having an extraordinary impact
on pelicans and many other species."
"In my opinion, domoic acid is the new DDT," Holcomb
said. "If the effects of DA poisoning are cumulative
in the brain, and we don't know that yet, it could have
serious consequences on the population of California brown
See also: http://www.ibrrc.org/pr_04_25_2007.html with
a link to a video, of pelicans showing symptoms of domoic
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Toxin kills birds, sea lions
Domoic acid, released by blooming diatoms, is behind dozens
of sick mammals and birds washing up on O.C. beaches.
By RYAN HAMMILL and CINDY CARCAMO The Orange County Register
The causes for the release of the toxin are
unknown and under research, but experts agree that it
enters the food chain through fish and shellfish that
are in turn eaten by larger animals, said Lisa Birkle,
an assistant director at the Wetland and Wildlife Care
Center in Huntington Beach.
But unlike years past, the speed and severity of the
toxin's onset has overwhelmed rescue groups who care for
the poisoned animals.
"The concentration of the toxin is so great this
year that we haven't had a chance to react to it," Birkle
said. "Normally we're able to flush out the toxin
with a treatment regimen to the birds we care for. This
year they're just coming in dead."
Since Sunday the center has received 73 sick or dead
birds. Eleven are still being cared for. :::snip:::
Danger at Sea: Toxic Algae Affects Local Marine Life
Friday, April 27, 2007 Reported by: Andrew Masuda
Hundreds of marine birds and mammals have been washing
up on shores from San Diego to San Francisco Bay including
scores along the Central Coast.
Here are the facts first.
* On April 8th, the carcass of a 29-foot sperm whale
washed ashore on an Isla Vista beach. It's not yet known
what caused the mammal to die.
* However, a toxin produced by algae bloom is what's believed
to have killed the porpoise that washed ashore that same
day at the Oceano Dunes.
* The toxin is called domoic acid and it's produced by
the bloom of ocean algae.
Andrew Masuda has more on how domoic acid is affecting
local marine life.
Domoic acid is one of three reasons why volunteers have
seen a surge in sick or dead marine life this spring.
And that's why they're expecting the problem to get even
"He's really anemic, so we give him B vitamins," said
Pacific Wildlife Care President Dani Nicholson.
Dani Nicholson feeds pedia-lite to a starving sea duck.
Ocean smelt are given to ailing greebs.
All of them collected off the San Luis Obispo county
"We normally would only take care of about 100 a
year. This year, we're at 100 and it's April. This is
the early season so we're really kind of scared for what's
coming," said Nicholson.
The problem is so bad Pacific Wildlife Care opened its
brand new triage center several weeks early.
Volunteers said domoic acid is just one reason why they're
pools and cages are filled around the clock.
"There are three things going on. There's starvation,
there's oil and there's domoic acid. And so all of those
hitting at once with sea birds, it's pretty catastrophic
right now. It's kind of a crisis," said Nicholson.
Next door at the Marine Mammal Center, volunteers know
all about crisis.
The cages may be empty now but Santa Barbara and San
Luis Obispo county volunteers have already rescued 53
marine mammals in 2007.
That's compared to 38 all of last year.
Volunteers used to rehabilitate birds, like this pair,
in their backyards.
But with the new center, birds are able to swim their
ways to recovery indoors and more frequently.
Volunteers credit these new warm and cool water pools
for higher survival rates.
"It's like a minor miracle for me and so it is making
a difference in the success rate," said Nicholson.
Success out of sea is all the more important in 2007.
Volunteers said 95% of the sea birds are found in the
Pismo Beach and Oceano Dunes area.
It's unclear if it's because those areas see more foot
traffic of what.
But it's just another phenomenon that has local volunteers
perplexed this spring.
Both the Marine Mammal Center and Pacific Wildlife Care
are entirely run by volunteers and through donations.
To find out how you can help, go to www.tmmc.org or www.pacificwildlifecare.org.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2007 WorldNow and
KSBY. All Rights Reserved.
Recovered pelicans wing it back to the water
Birds released in the Chesapeake after recuperating from
By MOLLY MURRAY, The News Journal
Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Twelve frostbitten pelicans, cared for over the past
several months at Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research near
Newark, were released back to the wild Monday -- a picture-perfect
day with blue skies and unseasonably warm temperatures.
The birds were driven south from northern Delaware to
Crisfield, Md., and then, with the help of the Coast Guard,
transported to South Marsh Island in the Chesapeake Bay.
There, the boat was headed into the wind, the pelican
cage doors were opened and each bird was given a little
push, said Sarah Tegtmeier, associate coordinator of oil
spill recovery at Tri-State.
"We're all happy to see them go," Tegtmeier
The birds spent much of this winter at Tri-State, recovering,
eating piles of fish and attracting the attention of adults
and youngsters alike.
Fourth-grade teacher Paul Sendacca's class and two others
at McVey Elementary School in the Christina School District
raised $125 to become Pelican Pals. Other schoolchildren
donated sheets and towels to help with the recovery effort.
Sendacca started volunteering at Tri-State about three
years ago after he and a friend found three baby birds.
They took them to Tri-State, got instructions on how to
care for them, then raised them and released them to the
The only trouble was one of the birds refused to leave.
That bird, a European starling named Alberto, has become
a favorite among his pupils.
So, Sendacca said, when the class read about the injured
pelicans, they wanted to help.
Normally, brown pelicans wouldn't spend the winter on
the Delmarva Peninsula, but this past winter, November,
December and January were unseasonably mild.
So the birds, all juveniles, stayed around the shores
of the Chesapeake Bay.
When winter finally did hit, the birds, unaccustomed
to the cold, ran into trouble.
A week or so into the frigid cold snap, biologists discovered
nearly two dozen brown pelicans at beaches along the Chesapeake.
Some were dead, some had lost legs because of exposure
to the severe cold and some had frostbitten feet. A few
were so badly injured that they were euthanized, said
Arlene Boles, development director for Tri-State.
At the time, Boles said they were birds "that were
in the wrong place at the wrong time."
The recovery process was slow and expensive.
The birds were kept in a warm room and given warm-water
foot baths every day. Eventually, the frostbite-damaged
skin peeled away, and the birds began to recover, Tegtmeier
Pelicans can be challenging to care for because the birds
sometimes have wingspans of up to 7 feet and can weigh
up to 8 pounds. The birds ate a total of about 60 pounds
of herring each day.
The center appealed for help from area residents because
of the cost of caring for the birds.
Tegtmeier, who was in Crisfield when the birds were released,
said once out of their cages, they flew off, circled around
and landed on the water. Other pelicans frequent the nearby
islands, which is one reason the area was selected for
the release, she said.
Pelicans are sometimes seen along the Delaware coast
during the summer, and they are increasingly common in
the Chesapeake. They are noted for their dive-bomber style
Copyright ©2007, The News Journal.
Rescued pelicans are set free after 3 months of rehab
: DAVID B.
By SUSAN E. WHITE, The Virginian-Pilot
© April 21, 2007
VIRGINIA BEACH - Animal rescue volunteers huddled around
the pack of brown pelicans at Rudee Inlet early Friday
like overprotective mothers watching their first born
attempt a few wobbly steps.
The birds inched to the pier's edge. After nearly three
months in captivity, the rescued pelicans seemed a little
unsure of themselves. A few cautiously stretched their
wings. Then, liftoff.
A few birds flapped into the air and soared low above
the water. Others quickly followed. Within minutes, the
pelicans were paddling together, yards beyond their rescuers'
"Look at them all!" shouted Barbara Gipson,
shelter manager for the Virginia Beach Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "They're having
a blast. Oh, what a good day!"
In all, 24 pelicans were released Friday near Lake Rudee,
where the birds were captured in late January. They joined
29 others released at Sandbridge by Wildlife Response
Inc. on Thursday. All had been recuperating from starvation
The birds are supposed to migrate south in the winter.
They stuck around because they've been relying on restaurants,
local anglers and tourists to feed them, said Sharon Adams,
executive director of the Beach SPCA. Those handouts dwindled
during the colder months.
Education may help eliminate that habit, Adams said.
The SPCA is launching a poster campaign to warn the public
of the repercussions of feeding wildlife. On one sign,
a pelican stands below a huge cartoon bubble, pronouncing:
Must Work for Food. Adams hopes restaurants around Rudee
Inlet will display the posters.
"If we can just manage wildlife in a way that they
can peacefully co-exist with humans, that's what we want
to do," she said.
Rescue volunteers also hope to keep track of the birds'
movements. All were banded before release.
For weeks, most of the rescued pelicans were sheltered
at the homes of wildlife rehabilitators. The recovery
effort demanded twice -daily feedings and showers. A few
birds required surgery to remove injured toes or to repair
gullets. Two others remain at the SPCA shelter. They haven't
healed enough to be released, Adams said.
All total, nearly $6,000 was spent for rehabilitation,
including on nearly 5,000 pounds of fish, shelter officials
Most of the birds arrived at the inlet Friday morning
a few pounds heavier and eager to go home. Maybe a little
too eager, said Virginia Tavenner, a wildlife rehabilitator
who cared for eight pelicans.
Tavenner, who lives in Chesapeake, said she routinely
flipped on the interior light of her Jeep Cherokee as
she cruised toward the Oceanfront just before dawn. The
birds, which were loaded in the back of the SUV, kept
trying to bite one another, she said.
"They'd just stop and look at me," Tavenner
said, explaining the light trick. "I felt like a
school bus driver."
By the time the birds hopped onto shore across the inlet,
rehabilitator Donna Hamilton was beaming like a proud
With warmer temperatures expected over the next few days,
the pelicans should quickly re-acclimate, the rescuers
"It's just so nice to see them out there free," Hamilton
# Reach Susan E. White at (757) 222-5114 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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