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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!

(Apologies for the lack of styling —I am - belatedly - in the process of updating.....)


|Biologists worried | California Brown Pelicans delisted in California | CA Brown pelicans found frail- LAT| Die-off cause a mystery |domoic acid - not to blame |Florida - concern | Galveston - hurricane Ike effects | Helping our Pelicans, compilation of links |IBRRC-overwhelmed |Oregon cold || Pelicans in NM and Oregon | Pelican Island | Removed too soon |Roumania - Dalmatian Pelicans shot |State of the Birds - warming waters | Washington - astonishing advice |Weather is a suspect |White Pelicans in MS |


Bizarre behavior of brown pelicans seen as a concern

By Kim Lamb Gregory ; Saturday, February 14, 2009

It’s too soon to take the brown pelican off the state’s endangered species list, according to California’s International Bird Rescue Research Center.

The California Department of Fish and Game removed the pelican from the state list on Feb. 5, and efforts are under way to remove the bird from the federal endangered species list.

“The species has recovered, but it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be cautious,” said the bird center’s director, Jay Holcomb.

“They are such an indicator bird because they are at the top of the food chain.”

The center released a report this week linking the December freeze in Oregon and Washington to the death or injury of 481 brown pelicans this winter along the California, Oregon and Baja California, Mexico, coasts.

About 27 were reported from Ventura County.

The birds failed to migrate south in time and suffered frostbite and lack of food.

November was 3 degrees warmer than usual in Oregon and Washington, according to Portland meteorologist Clinton Rockey.

Then a December freeze walloped the Northwest.

That rapid change in weather apparently took the birds by surprise, according to California Department of Fish and Game biologist Esther Burkett.

The pelicans’ disoriented behavior, however, remains unexplained, according to the bird center.

“What we can’t explain is their odd behaviors and why they’re seeming kind of out of it,” Holcomb said. “Why they started landing in weird places.”

WildRescue, a nonprofit emergency wildlife rescue agency based in Monterey, has never had this many sick or injured pelicans reported before, according to spokeswoman Rebecca Dymytrk.

“These were found from Baja, Mexico, to Astoria (Ore.),” Dymytrk said.

“Many of these were adults, which is unusual because typically during the winter months we’ll see a die-off of young pelicans, but not among adult pelicans 3 years or older.”

The almost 500 pelicans reported sick or dead is certainly notable, Burkett said, but not enough to put the pelicans back on the endangered species list.

© 2009 Ventura County Star: http://www.venturacountystar.com/news/2009/feb/14/bizarre-behavior-of-brown-pelicans-seen-as-a/

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Pelican die-off cause a mystery
Birds struck by combination of factors, rescue group says
By LARRY PARSONS
Herald Staff Writer
Updated: 02/13/2009 01:34:56 AM PST

The reason why hundreds of California brown pelicans were found dead, dazed and dying on the West Coast this winter may never be pinned down, a bird rescue group said Wednesday.

The plight of the ailing pelicans, 40 of which were found in Monterey County, was likely a combination of factors, according to the International Bird Rescue Research Center of Fairfield.

"We think there are a bunch of things that have hit them," said Jay Holcomb, executive director of the rescue center, which took in about 200 sick pelicans discovered in December and January. About 50 are being treated at the center and more than 75 have been returned to the wild.

"We were really hoping to find a smoking gun, but we really haven't found it," he said.

A leading theory is that a warming global climate and abundant food caused about 4,000 pelicans to remain in Oregon and Washington months past when they normally would have migrated south. Then many of the birds got caught in record-freezing December temperatures, stressing their bodies and leaving them without food supplies.

But the delayed migration-inclement weather scenario doesn't explain why many adult birds displayed odd behavior and confusion. One bird was found near the mouth of Carmel Valley sitting in the middle of Rio Road.

"That was something odd that we haven't seen," Holcomb said, discussing the birds' behavior. "An adult pelican just doesn't land on the highway and do things like that."

A few pelicans tested positive for domoic acid, a neurotoxin produced by the microalgae of a red tide. But the poison probably didn't play a role in the pelicans' plight. The toxin usually causes seizures in pelicans, but none of the birds showed that symptom.

There is still research to be done on a few of the pelican carcasses, but Holcomb said that likely won't lead to definitive answers.

The continuing mystery about the pelican die-off comes as the state Fish and Game Commission voted this month to take the California brown pelican off the endangered species list.

The pelican population has rebounded since the early 1970s when there were just a few thousand birds, Holcomb said. But it may be too early to declare pelicans out of danger.

"The state says there has been enough to say they are recovered, but we are just a bit cautious," he said.

In recommending the delisting, commission officials said that since the 1969 ban of DDT, the breeding population of brown pelicans in the Channel Islands off Southern California has annually exceeded the 3,000 pairs called for in pelican recovery plans.

In 2006, there were about 8,500 breeding pairs, and despite threats including oil spills, starvation and domoic poisoning, the breeding population has increased substantially.

Nesting sites are protected, and pelicans remain a fully protected species under other fish and game laws, commission officials said.

Larry Parsons can be reached at 646-4379 or lparsons@montereyherald.com.

Copyright © 2008 - Monterey County Herald

http://www.montereyherald.com/local/ci_11696442?nclick_check=1

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Dalmatian Pelicans illegally shot in Romania

12-02-2009

SOR (BirdLife in Romania) recently received evidence of illegal hunting activities taking place in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. At least eight dead or injured birds were found in the Uzlina area of the Danube Delta. The dead birds were Vulnerable Dalmatian Pelicans Pelecanus crispus and Pygmy Cormorants Phalacrocorax pygmaeus.

The two species are strictly protected from hunting by Romanian legislation, and accidental shooting can be ruled out because the species that were shot are easy to identify. The fact that their killing occurred in a protected area also increases the severity of the case. The Danube Delta is a Biosphere Reserve, a Ramsar site (Wetland of International Importance), and a Natura 2000 site (Special Protected Area).

“This type of abusive hunting can be considered a direct attack on its unique biodiversity” —Ciprian Fantana, Conservation Director at SOR (BirdLife in Romania)

The Romanian Dalmatian Pelican population is one of the most important in Europe, estimated at around 400 breeding pairs, of which four individuals were shot. Romania is also home to nearly half the world’s population of Pygmy Cormorant.

SOR is expressing its opposition and deep concern regarding the failure to enforce hunting legislation in the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. “This type of abusive hunting, where the culprits are usually unidentified, tends to be recurrent in this area and can be considered a direct attack on its unique biodiversity”, said Ciprian Fântân?, Conservation Director at SOR.

“Such appalling news reminds us how deep-rooted poaching is in human behaviour” —Boris Barov, European Conservation Manager at the European Division

The Romanian BirdLife Partner has notified the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve Administration, the Regional Environment Protection Agency, the Environment Ministry and the Regional Game Associations. All these institutions are responsible for law enforcement and are empowered to find and sanction those responsible for the illegal hunting activities in the Danube Delta.

“The fact that deliberate massacre of Globally Threatened Dalmatian Pelican is still taking place in Europe is a clear call for more efforts to educate and enforce control on the side of authorities, but media and civil society must play their part too”, said Boris Barov, European Conservation Manager at the European Division. “Such appalling news reminds us how deep-rooted poaching is in human behaviour - despite many years of conservation and awareness-raising work”.

The Dalmatian Pelican is qualified as a ‘Nature Monument’ in Romania, listed in Annex I of the EU Birds Directive, and is classified as Vulnerable by BirdLife - the Red List Authority for birds on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.

Dalmatian Pelicans

Credits: SOR (BirdLife in Romania)

This content © BirdLife International. http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2009/02/dalmatian_pelicans.html


Pelican Island: No longer invisible
BY WARREN KAGARISE CORRESPONDENT

Throughout much of its history, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge was almost unknown, a speck in the Indian River Lagoon, nestled against Orchid Island and practically invisible to outsiders.

:::snip::: http://www.verobeach32963.com/news/News020509/020509_Pelican.htm

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A wonderful bird is the American White Pelican

Back in the seventies a strange bird fell to earth in South Mississippi.

It was a giant with wings stretching almost 10 feet tip-to-tip and a bill well over a foot long.

I never learned the particulars of its fall and capture, but I can assure you the person who corraled this creature and transported it to the Hattiesburg Zoo was brave, indeed.

:::snip::: http://www.sunherald.com/sports/story/1107363.html

More here on the White Pelican and how it differs from the Brown Pelican


California Brown Pelican delisted

State removes birds from endangered species list; IBRRC opposed

California Brown Pelican have been taken off the endangered species list by state officials.
On February 5, 2009, the California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to remove the Brown Pelican from the list species considered to be endangered by the State of California.

This marks the first endangered species that has ever been deemed by the state to have recovered. The delisting and acknowledgement of success with this species is a significant conservation achievement for California, the United States and all involved.

We at IBRRC are delighted that their numbers have rebounded and their appearance along our coast is once again a common occurrence. However, we remain apposed to this delisting as the California Brown Pelican. As an indicator species, this pelican is still highly vulnerable to oil spills, domoic acid events, exposure to botulism at the Salton Sea and the constant pollution that they encounter on a daily basis.

To make matters worse, pelicans are also frequent victims of fishing tackle entanglements, direct cruelty situations, changes in food supply (fish), mysterious situations like the recent events during the last few months.

:::snip:::

http://www.ibrrc.org/California_brown_pelican_delisted.html

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Pelicans caught in Oregon cold
February 1, 2009

ASTORIA — Many injured and ailing pelicans that failed to continue their migration to California this winter are ending up at the Wildlife Center of the North Coast.

Thousands of pelicans stayed in Oregon longer than usual last year, as mild weather and abundant food supplies held steady through November.

Experts suspect the birds got caught in the winter storms along the Pacific Northwest coast during their southward migration and are suffering from frostbite, hypothermia and exhaustion, among other ailments.

Center Director Sharnelle Fee said the center is treating 36 California brown pelicans found along the northern Oregon and southwest Washington coasts. The birds are part of a major stranding event that has affected an estimated 300 to 400 pelicans in the region since mid-December.

About 200 pelicans were reported dead in Northern California in late December and early January. Dozens of weak and disoriented pelicans, some emaciated and malnourished, have been taken in by bird rescue volunteers. Many have been found with lesions and dead, black skin on their feet and feeding pouches.

Deborah Jaques, a wildlife biologist and pelican expert in Astoria, is one of the scientists who has been piecing the puzzle together over the past few weeks. Her theory is that when the icy mid-December storms blew in, the pelicans raced against the wind and snow to make their way down to their breeding grounds in California and Mexico.

"These guys were caught in it," she said. "They have to come out to roost at night. They can't stay in the water."

Their main roost on East Sand Island in the Columbia River estuary was covered in frost, said Jaques. She suspects the birds moved faster than they normally would to escape the cold.

"They're not necessarily starving," she said, "they're just exhausted."http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20090201/NEWS/902010334/1001

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Jan 27, 2009 6:10 pm US/Eastern
Wildlife Experts Concerned Over Pelican Plight

Considered by some biologists and animal activists as the harbingers of the health of our seas and planet, flocks of pelicans from Miami to Malibu are running into trouble.

In South Florida, a group which rescues and cares for injured pelicans has been busy this winter helping many young birds who barely escaped the bitter cold temperatures.

"You'll typically see dehydration, you'll see malnutrition," said Wendy Fox with the Pelican Harbor Seabird Station in North Bay Village. "If they are too long in very cold temperatures, we even get them down here with frostbite on their toes and in their pouches." :::snip:::

Fox said another concern is the declining numbers in our area. The pelicans, like so many other animals and birds, are heavily impacted by man's burgeoning population.

"They are losing where they would roost at night. If you drive up and down Biscayne Boulevard at sunset you will see crows everywhere and crackles roosting on telephone wires. They should be in trees," said Fox.

Experts say if you ever find a pelican in trouble, never directly try to offer it a helping hand – call for professional help.

(© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. http://cbs4.com/local/pelicans.rescue.cold.2.919221.html

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Struggling pelican sets up camp near Rose Valley driveway

Friday, January 16, 2009 11:37 PM PST

By Amy M.E. Fischer and The Associated Press

Rose Valley resident Jack Smith was surprised when a brown pelican cruised over his tree farm Jan. 3. In the 32 years he’s lived on his rural, 30-acre property, Smith had never seen one of the baggy-throated coastal-dwelling birds in the area.

Smith, 60, was even more surprised when the pelican parked in the snow on the edge of his driveway. For the next nine days, the bird sat there, weathering the snow, wind and rain.

“He just stayed in that one spot. I thought he was going to keel over and die or something. It was the strangest thing,” said Smith, a retired deputy chief for Cowlitz 2. “It was almost like I could walk up and pick him up. It was like he was looking for help.”

According to a story in The Oregonian, hundreds of endangered California brown pelicans that summer at the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon are turning up dead along the West Coast. Biologists speculate the birds waited too long to head south and were caught in December’s winter storms that dumped snow across the Northwest.

More than 460 pelicans have been found dead in the past month, according to the International Bird Rescue Research Center in California. Some birds have tested positive for domoic acid, a toxin that can accumulate in shellfish.

According to the Oregonian, the weakened pelicans have been straying inland this winter to places they’ve rarely appeared in the past. Many have injured feet and throat pouches.

Smith said the pelican in his yard was leaving blood trails in the snow from its bleeding feet.

Fearing the pelican would make a fine meal for a coyote, Smith called the Humane Society of Cowlitz County, which directed him to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, which told him to call the Audubon Society.

“I said the coyotes are gonna get it. They said, 'Well, coyotes have to eat, too,'” Smith recounted.

The Audubon Society told Smith he could bring the pelican to their Portland office if he wanted. He could capture it by throwing a blanket or heavy coat over the bird, an Audubon representative said, warning Smith to be careful because the pelican could swiftly poke his eyes out with its beak.

Smith decided instead to try feeding the bird packages of frozen smelt and herring he uses for bait when fishing for sturgeon and salmon. After work, and some mornings, he’d thaw the fish in the microwave and walk out to meet the pelican with a flashlight and his Dalmation, Molly.

“He’d see me coming and be waiting for the fish,” Smith said. “He didn’t like the herring, but he did like the smelt. ... He’d throw the fish he didn’t want back down in the ditch.”

Last Monday, the pelican was gone. Smith didn’t see any scattered feathers or other evidence there’d been a fight, so he doesn’t think the coyotes got it. He hopes the pelican had grown strong enough to fly away.

“I hope he made it,” Smith said. “It was a beautiful bird. It was a real interesting bird. ... Maybe he’ll come back next year.”

Copyright © 2009, The Daily News All rights This brown pelican lingered on a rural Rose Valley property for more than a week this month. Pelicans are rarely spotted so far inland, but scientists speculate it's happening this winter because the birds were caught by December's storms before they could migrate south. Photo courtesy of Jack Smithreserved.http://www.tdn.com/articles/2009/01/17/area_news/doc49714a77d3460201273534.prt http://www.tdn.com/articles/2009/01/17/area_news/doc49714a77d3460201273534.txt

comment: Hopefully, other Audubon Societies don't give such shockingly poor advice to a kind-hearted person! Never in all the years in the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network rescuing pelicans has anyone had an eye poked out - or had a pelican aim for an eye. With bloody feet, 9 days in the snow, the juvenile is not liable to have survived and it's painful to think of the pain it felt with frost-bitten feet.

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Birds' future unclear after Ike destroys habitat

 

By Rhiannon Meyers. The Daily News, Published January 15, 2009

The throngs of binocular-clad bird watchers who flock to Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island each year might have a hard time spotting their favorite fowl since Hurricane Ike struck.

 

The Sept. 13 hurricane flooded the island and the peninsula with salt water, drowning habitats, killing trees, ruining marshes and sending birds flocking south in search of food and shelter, said Mort Voller, past president of the Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council.

 

While the future of the island’s famous brown pelicans remains unclear until they try to return in the spring to nest, bird enthusiasts already are seeing a decline in the numbers of songbirds and in the numbers and types of raptors that fly south for the winter.

 

No Food, Shelter

:::snip::

:Pelican Population

 

Though fewer pelicans have been spotted soaring over the causeway in the four months after the hurricane, the true test of their future will come in the spring when the big brown birds go to nest at North Deer Island near the causeway in Galveston Bay and Evia Island near Bolivar Peninsula, Burkett said.

 

Brown pelicans had largely disappeared from the area during the late 1950s because of pollutants, Eubanks said. The birds began returning in the late 1990s and have since made a dramatic comeback, Burkett said.

 

Some died during Hurricane Ike; Burkett found 20 dead pelicans on Bolivar Peninsula while the Houston Audubon Society was cleaning the debris there.

 

But, others that survive will find their nesting sites took a beating during the hurricane.

 

:::snip::: http://galvestondailynews.com/story.lasso?ewcd=7a09b372511bbac6

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See also: http://www.sacbee.com/latest/story/1545109.html:

Bird rescuers are pleading for help from the public to treat dozens of endangered California brown pelicans stricken by a mysterious, deadly illness.

The nonprofit International Bird Rescue and Research Center, based in Fairfield, is nursing about 150 brown pelicans at its two treatment centers. Hundreds more have died along the California coast.

The demands of treating so many large birds has caused the center to seek donations from the public. Each bird may be held for as long as a month while it recuperates, requiring $500 to $1,000 in food and treatment during that time.

:::snip::: To donate: please contact the IBRRC or in Santa Barbara, the SBWCN!

 

 

January 16, 2009

In Pelican Mystery, Weather Is a Suspect

By JESSE McKINLEY

 

FAIRFIELD, Calif. —What’s wrong with California’s pelicans?

 

More than 400 endangered California brown pelicans have been found dead or dying since late December, with disoriented and starving birds turning up on highways, in backyards, and even in the Arizona desert.

 

Now, though, after an investigation with all manner of sinister theories — from bird flu to poisoning by lingering fire retardant used to fight the region’s wildfires — California fish and game officials say they are closing in on a more usual suspect: Mother Nature.

 

According to a preliminary report to be released on Thursday, many of the birds now flooding West Coast animal hospitals and rescue centers were caught in a brutal snowstorm and cold snap on the Oregon-Washington border in mid-December, setting off an arduous and often life-threatening commute to warmer climes. :::snip::: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/16/us/16pelicans.html

 

Monterey: 40 pelicans found along Central Coast: http://www.ksbw.com/news/18488883/detail.html

 

Also:
Pelicans' health problems may be tied to Pacific Northwest storm of December
Hundreds of starving and ill birds have been turning up far from their seaside habitats, and scientists think freezing temperatures and winds off the coasts of Oregon and Washington may be to blame.

 

By Louis Sahagun, January 17, 2009

Scientists said Friday they believe a severe storm off the coasts of Oregon and Washington in December may be responsible for the bruised and confused California brown pelicans reported in recent weeks throughout California, far from their seaside homes.

About 4,000 of the big brown birds had enjoyed an unusually warm November in Oregon when they were suddenly hit by freezing temperatures and 60 mph winds, said David A. Jessup, senior veterinarian for the California Department of Fish and Game.

Many of the pelicans were starving and suffering from frostbite and diseases including pneumonia, bronchitis and hepatitis when they were forced to make a 1,000-mile trip to warmer climates in Southern California.

"A high proportion of these birds are adult," Jessup said, "and quite a few have severe frostbite injuries: frozen toes and foot webs, and nasty lesions on their pouches.

"They're in pretty good body condition otherwise. Even confused and depressed pelicans were not showing signs of brain damage."

But exposure to bad weather doesn't explain all of the problems discovered in blood and tissue samples of pelicans found dead or dying on airport runways, farm fields, freeways and high in the mountains.

For example, blood samples from four of 19 ailing birds sent to USC biology professor David Caron for analysis had detectable levels of potentially fatal algae toxins such as domoic acid.

Additional tests were being conducted by the Department of Fish and Game, the National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis., the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory at UC Davis and SeaWorld in San Diego.

Jessup said he planned to release a report on the problem within a few days.

In the meantime, wildlife rescuers from San Francisco to San Diego continued to retrieve and rehabilitate hundreds of stricken pelicans.

"Until complete test results are available, we're not prepared to say what is to blame for the constellation of symptoms we've been seeing in these birds," said Laurie Pyne, development director for the International Bird Rescue Research Center. "We're still trying to put the puzzle pieces together."

More than 70,000 breeding pairs of pelicans inhabit California and Baja California, Mexico, and total numbers have surged to about 620,000 birds along the West Coast, Gulf Coast and Latin and South America.


http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environment/la-me-pelicans17-2009jan17,0,1957053.story

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Domoic acid not to blame: Test results from USC show that birds found dead or sick were not poisoned by the acid. Published Wednesday, January 14, 2009 8:21 PM PST

By Joseph Serna

Whatever has been killing dozens of pelicans and cormorants along the Newport Beach and Huntington Beach coast the last couple of weeks, it isn’t domoic acid poisoning, experts concluded Wednesday.

Reports began flooding staff at Huntington Beach’s Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center early last week with accounts of more pelicans than usual being found either dead or dying in the water and on the sand.

By the end of the week, the mysterious disease, which has struck seabirds all along the state coastline, had stretched into Newport Beach as well, with more than a dozen pelicans and cormorants found along the city’s coast.

Immediately, experts at the care center began taking blood and tissue samples and sending them to state universities for testing.

Wednesday, results from blood tests submitted over the weekend to USC’s Caron Lab, which focuses on marine environmental biology, determined that domoic acid poisoning, which comes from toxic algae blooms in the ocean, was not responsible for the deaths.

Eleven birds from Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach were sent to USC’s laboratory.

Of those, only one from Newport Beach tested positive for domoic acid poisoning, and at an extremely low level at that, said wildlife care center Director Debbie McGuire.

In all, 24 test results from birds as far north as Port Hueneme returned only four positive for domoic acid poisoning, all at low levels, McGuire said.

Experts remain stumped on what is killing the birds.

Experts now turn to tests expected to come back later in the week from the California Health and Food Safety laboratory at UC Davis.

Rehabilitating birds costs between $500 and $1,000 and testing is another $300 or so per bird, care center officials said.

The center is quickly running out of funds to pay for saving and testing all this recent wave of victims, McGuire said.

Anyone interested in donating to help can call the center at (714) 374-5587. The center also accepts donations of old sheets, towels and cases of Pedialyte.

JOSEPH SERNA may be reached at (714) 966-4619 or at joseph.serna@latimes.com.

http://www.dailypilot.com/articles/2009/01/14/topstory/dpt-accident122508.txt

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Mysterious pelican deaths worry California biologists By Lisa M. Krieger

Mercury News Posted: 01/11/2009 05:14:13 PM PST

In a troubling wildlife mystery, California brown pelicans are turning up sick or dead in suburban ponds, driveways and backyards — far from their ocean home.

Two of the elegant birds, emaciated and disoriented, were found in San Jose last week. Another was rescued from Searsville Dam at Stanford University's Jasper Ridge Preserve. Others have been reported at such unlikely locations as Belmont, San Bruno, Brisbane and Burlingame. One fell out of a tree in Oakland. Two were found in a San Francisco dumpster; another stopped traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge.

"Normally, they're on piers and places where they can find fish,'' said Rebecca Ryan of the Peninsula Humane Society in San Mateo, which has stabilized several sick birds. "Now they are appearing in really unusual places.''

All told, an estimated 270 dead or ailing pelicans have been found in recent weeks from Washington state to Baja California, including dozens from the Monterey Bay area and along the San Mateo County coast, :::snip:::

http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_11430457

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Brown Pelican Found In New Mexico Snow
Officials: Mysterious Illness Causing Rash Of Dead Pelicans

POSTED: 1:54 pm PST January 8, 2009 UPDATED: 2:22 pm PST January 8, 2009

MONTEREY, Calif. -- A mysterious illness is continuing to kill brown pelicans along the Central Coast, but officials from WildRescue said Thurdsay they are compiling data about dead or sick pelicans found in other states.

A young pelican was found in the snow at an elevation of 7,200 feet in New Mexico on Dec. 14, which is something that has never been observed before, said Rebecca Dmytryk, of WildRescue.

To date, wildlife officials have received reports about 250 dead or dying pelicans from places such as New Mexico, Oregon and Baja California.But most of the dead or sick pelicans, however, have been found along the coast of California. :::snip::: http://www.ksbw.com/news/18440789/detail.html#

About 30-50 Brown Pelicans at the mouth of the Columbia River and 100 in Gray's Harbor: http://www.theolympian.com/outdoors/story/720953.html

Mercury News: ...:::snip:::Another possibility is that the birds were weakened by a cold snap in Northern California, Oregon and Washington, said Daniel Anderson, an avian ecologist at UC Davis.

Large numbers of pelicans began migrating south about a month later than usual, remaining in the Pacific Northwest into December when cold storms moved through.

 

"Pelicans can't take freezing cold weather," Anderson said. "It's one possibility these birds were weakened from cold weather."

 

"The most likely case is it's a series of things ... multiple stressors," Anderson added.:::snip::: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_11419359?

 

Also: Mystery intensifies: http://www.kcba.com/Global/story.asp?S=9635913 (video)

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Ingrid's San Francisco Blog _ Helping Our Pelicans
Monday January 5, 2009
Update Jan 11, 2009: Preliminary test results from pelicans determined that some of them were positive for domoic acid, the algae toxin which can cause some of the symptoms these birds are experiencing. But IBRRC believes domoic acid is secondary to some as-of-yet undetermined cause of the pelicans' illness. IBRRC's most recent blog post suggests it will take some detective work to discover the real source of the problem.

--------------------------------
A few months ago, a number of Brown Pelicans were found in Southern California with severe and deliberately-inflicted injuries: their wings had been snapped backward. Most of the pelicans did not survive. A $20,000 reward was offered for information leading to the arrest of the responsible person(s).

Today, IBRRC (International Bird Rescue Research Center) reports that an unusual number of thin and disoriented pelicans are being found along the coast from Monterey to San Diego. IBRRC is asking anyone who finds an injured or dead pelican to call the toll-free California Wildlife Hotline 866-WILD-911. If you'd like to help offset the cost of pelican care, you can Adopt a Pelican or make a contribution toward the expensive food and medication required in the pelicans' rehabilitation. :::snip:::

http://sanfrancisco.about.com/b/2009/01/05/helping-our-pelicans.htm

See also: Mercury News: Group concerned about Pelican Deaths: http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_11373452?nclick_check=1

Increase of sick brown pelicans baffles experts; problem extends into Baja, south of San Felipe. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jfmE6TC3Qr1PxAlOIL4B5cd2PYxwD95I7GN80

Monterey - 25 pelicans found sick:Anyone who sees an adult brown pelican that appears to be disoriented or in an unusual place should call the SPCA of Monterey County at 373-2631 from the Peninsula, or 422-4721 from the Salinas area. http://www.montereyherald.com/local/ci_11392348?nclick_check=1

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California brown pelicans found frail and far from home

The coastal birds have been seen on highways, runways and in backyards, and they share symptoms of disorientation, fatigue and bruising. The phenomenon is stumping experts.
By Louis Sahagun, January 6, 2009


Wildlife rescuers from San Diego to San Francisco suddenly are facing a distressing biological mystery: Disoriented and bruised California brown pelicans are landing on highways and airport runways and in farm fields, alleys and backyards miles from their normal coastal haunts.

In the last week, the big brown birds known for flying in formation over beaches have been reported wobbling across Culver Boulevard in Playa del Rey and on a Los Angeles International Airport runway. Two dead pelicans were found on the 110 Freeway. Elsewhere, one smacked into a car. :::snip:::

"We just became aware of this problem a few days ago," said David Caron, a professor of biological sciences at USC who was analyzing pelican blood samples sent to him from throughout the state. "By the end of the week, we'll have information that should tell us whether or not these animals test positive for phytoplankton toxins."

At a cost of about $500 to $1,000 per bird, veterinarians and volunteers were tending to growing numbers of feathered patients with intravenous fluids, medications, warm enclosures and a steady diet of smelt and squid. Sick birds started arriving last month and many of them rebounded within a matter of weeks.

"Pelicans have been hammered over the years by oil spills, DDT, domoic acid, fishing line, gunshots, starvation and parasites -- we're expert at dealing with those problems," said David Weeshoff, a volunteer at the San Pedro center. "But right now, we're scratching our heads over the cause of this event. Not a good deal." :::snip:":::

"We've ruled out starvation because there are plenty of fish in coastal waters right now," said Jay Holcomb, executive director of the Northern California-based International Bird Rescue Research Center. "We're seeking answers from all the experts we can find." ::snip:::

photos: http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/california/la-me-pelicans6-2009jan06,0,6717081.story

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Sanctuary Overwhelmed With Sick Brown Pelicans
SAN PEDRO, January 4, 2009

A San Pedro bird sanctuary is overwhelmed with incapacitated California brown pelicans and the problem likely stems from a population explosion in the Channel Islands pelican rookery, it was reported Saturday.

An increase in the number of sick and malnourished pelicans that have been found on roads and beaches have overwhelmed the center's outdoor aviaries.

The International Bird Rescue Center has instituted an "Adopt-a-Pelican" program, which allows donors to visit their adopted pelican and help release the rehabilitated bird.

The cost to participate in the International Bird Rescue Center's program is $200 per pelican and $500 to be a Pelican Partner, the Daily Breeze reported.

With each pelican costing an average of $500 to $1,000 to feed and treat, the center's director, Jay Holcomb, figured it was a good time to initiate the program.

"They're expensive animals -- they eat tons of fish and require a lot of medicine," the center's director, Jay Holcomb, told the Daily Breeze. "We'll never shut the door to them, but they don't come in with credit cards."

Holcomb explained that an increase in pelican babies led to more sick young birds coming to the center last fall.

"We don't usually get that many... at this time of year. We've been getting them regularly, and we've been concerned about it," he told the Daily Breeze.

"Some of them are injured but others are starving," Peter Wallerstein, a rescue specialist with the nonprofit Marine Animal Rescue told the Daily Breeze. "They're so weak. They're just landing and not having the strength to get up again."

:::snip:::

photos-video: http://cbs2.com/pets/California.Brown.Pelican.2.899480.html (© 2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)

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Mon 6/15 6 PM
Valley bird species on decline
Songbirds, pelicans are species of concern
By Emily Charrier-Botts INDEX-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

...

Bird populations in almost all habitats are declining, largely because of the loss of open-space nesting. Burrowing owls, for example, prefer to live on rocky hillsides, the same terrain so often planted to vineyards. That has meant a drop in the burrowing owl population, while coastal birds like pelicans may face the most difficult habitat challenge as changes in the ocean temperatures have impacted food supplies.

"The results (of the report) are sobering: bird populations in many habitats are declining - a warning signal of the failing health of our ecosystems," the report states. "At least 39 percent of the U.S. birds restricted to ocean habitats are declining. These birds face threats from pollution, over-fishing and warming sea temperatures caused by climate change, as well as threats at island and coastal nesting sites. Declining seabirds may be our most visible indication of an ocean ecosystem under stress."

...

While many species are on the decline, the report also details how conservation efforts have been immensely successful in aiding certain species.

The California condor was nearly extinct in the 1980s when the species population reached a historic low of 22. Thanks to an organized campaign to protect these birds of prey, today 174 condors are living in California and the population continues to increase annually.

Rusert said he's hopeful the report's results will help area bird rescue organizations prioritize which species are in most need of protection.

...

The full report is available at www.stateofthebirds.org.

http://www.sonomanews.com/articles/2009/06/15/news/doc4a36f489c0408895475979.txt

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UF shows a ‘Pelican’s Point of View’ to protect the seabirds

Announcements on January 17, 2008.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — At virtually every seaport mankind has ever built, you’re sure to see a pelican at some time or another. The birds roost on every continent except Antarctica. Their scythe-like beaks and snaking necks have adorned human art dating back thousands of years.

So, what’s the harm in a fisherman tossing a bit of fish to the nearby pelican kind enough to keep him company? What’s a scrap of flounder between friends? :::snip:::

http://insideuf.ufl.edu/2008/01/17/pelicans/

To see the flash video, visit: http://collier.ifas.ufl.edu/SeaGrant/Anglers.shtml
Those interested in a hardcopy DVD of the video should contact Fluech via email at Fluech@ufl.edu.


 

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