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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.



More than pelicans: check out the Wildlife News section!

Arizona |Australian lake | Australia, disappearing waterbirds | Chase Lake | Delaware recovery | Domoic Acid stories: Ventura, SB; Los Angeles Times ; Monterey and IBRCC report ; Orange Countyrehabbed!; 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 Bay Area.

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 themselves.

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 affected.

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 08:42 PM

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 in 2007.

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 survive.

"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 KCBA.



Fertilizer May Mean Fewer Fish in the Salton Sea

10:53 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 future."

Last sighting

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 said.

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."

Disappointed fishermen

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 ever return.

"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 jbowles@pe.com. Reach Joan Osterwalder at 760-837-4406 or josterwalder@pe.com. http://www.pe.com/breakingnews/local/stories/PE_News_Local_salton08.583a7.html

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 the Cessna.

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 lakes.

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 city

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 said.

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 Commission.

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 of pelicans

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. :::snip:::

"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 California.

“They get caught up in these winds and get dumped in the desert. Like Dorothy in the ‘Wizard of Oz’,” Powell-McConnell said.

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 said.

Others are injured on cactus or concrete or become starved and dehydrated and are brought to wildlife rehabilitators if found.

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 Beebe.

Powell-McConnell has trained wildlife rehabilitators on how to care for pelicans before they can be brought to her.

“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 warnings

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 continued. :::snip:::

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 evelynb@montana.edu <http://www.montana.edu/cpa/news/nwview.php?article=5003>


Brown pelican set free in Quintana

By John Lowman, The Facts Published July 25, 2007

QUINTANA — Bobbi Brown is free again.

Rescued at 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 shores.

“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 at (979)237-0151.
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 once again.

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 state.

That’s good news for Louisiana’s state bird.

Find this article at:
http://www.2theadvocate.com/opinion/8401752.html?showAll=y&c=y; 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 and departures.

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
Click here for video: Pelicans patrol Miller's Bay

By Aldrich M. Tan of The Northwestern, Posted June 12, 2007

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 wingspans outstretched.

"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 a pelican."

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 Natural Resource.

But in the past five years, the birds migratory patterns started to move eastward and Volkert is thrilled by the change.

"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, Volkert said.

"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 death.

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 fluids.

"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 said. http://www.thelog.com/news/newsview.asp?c=215746


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 pelicans.”

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 Dakotas.

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 Daily.)


"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
Posted: 5/16/07

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 algae.

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 results. :::snip::: or http://www.ucsc.edu/news_events/press_releases/text.asp?pid=1292


Australia: Now you see it ...
The usually arid Lake Eyre fills with floodwaters from the northern reaches, creating a haven for wildlife and fish.

story and photo by Paul Estcourt Tuesday May 15, 2007
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 marine life.

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 ingesting it."

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 rate.

"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, Caron said.




Domoic Acid Reaches Record High Levels in California Waters

May 9, 2007 08:07 PM; Reported by: Andrew Masuda


There's a different danger in the water this spring that's affecting hundreds of marine mammals and birds along the California coast.

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 acid.

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 veterinarian treatment.


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 sanctuary.

"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 at 963-3373.



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 Wildlife Rescue.

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 Citizen.

"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 species.

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 years.

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 them.

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 said.

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 domoic poisoning.

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 pelicans."


See also: http://www.ibrrc.org/pr_04_25_2007.html with a link to a video, of pelicans showing symptoms of domoic acid poisoning.


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 worse.

"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 shores.

"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 frostbite
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 said.

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 wild.

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 said.

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 of fishing.
Copyright ©2007, The News Journal.


Rescued pelicans are set free after 3 months of rehab































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' reach.

"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 and frostbite.

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 estimated.

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 parent.

With warmer temperatures expected over the next few days, the pelicans should quickly re-acclimate, the rescuers agreed.

"It's just so nice to see them out there free," Hamilton said.

# Reach Susan E. White at (757) 222-5114 or susan.white@pilotonline.com.













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