than pelicans: check out the Wildlife
for the lack of styling —I am - belatedly - in the process
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
- 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
“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
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
“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
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/
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
"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
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
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
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
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
Larry Parsons can be reached at 646-4379 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2008 - Monterey County Herald
Dalmatian Pelicans illegally shot
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
“This type of abusive hunting can be considered
a direct attack on its unique biodiversity” —Ciprian
Fantana, Conservation Director at SOR (BirdLife
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
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
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.
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.
A wonderful bird is the American White Pelican
Back in the seventies a strange bird fell to earth in
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
"They're not necessarily starving," she said, "they're
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
(© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. http://cbs4.com/local/pelicans.rescue.cold.2.919221.html
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
“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
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
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,
“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
“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.
Birds' future unclear after Ike destroys
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
No Food, Shelter
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.
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
:::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
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
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:
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
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
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
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.
acid not to blame:
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
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.
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.
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
experts at the care center began taking blood and tissue samples and
sending them to state universities for testing.
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.
birds from Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach were sent
to USC’s laboratory.
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
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
remain stumped on what is killing the birds.
now turn to tests expected to come back later in the week from the California
Health and Food Safety laboratory at UC Davis.
birds costs between $500 and $1,000 and testing is another $300 or so
per bird, care center officials said.
center is quickly running out of funds to pay for saving and testing
all this recent wave of victims, McGuire said.
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
SERNA may be reached at (714) 966-4619 or at email@example.com.
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
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:::
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,
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
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
"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
Also: Mystery intensifies: http://www.kcba.com/Global/story.asp?S=9635913 (video)
Ingrid's San Francisco Blog _ Helping
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
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'
See also: Mercury News: Group concerned about Pelican
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
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
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:::
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
Holcomb explained that an increase in pelican babies
led to more sick young birds coming to the center last
"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."
photos-video: http://cbs2.com/pets/California.Brown.Pelican.2.899480.html (© 2008
CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
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
"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.
UF shows a ‘Pelican’s Point of View’ to
protect the seabirds
Announcements on January 17,
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
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?
To see the flash video, visit: http://collier.ifas.ufl.edu/SeaGrant/Anglers.shtml
interested in a hardcopy DVD of the video should contact
Fluech via email at Fluech@ufl.edu.
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