SPECIAL NEWS SECTION
OIL SPILL (click for selections
from stories and links) and updates on pelicans
and other seabirds/marine life affected by the B.P. gusher.
tracking the spilling oil: http://nyti.ms/anMcRY and
bracing for impact, http://tinyurl.com/2audddf;
Detroit Free Press gllery, May 1. 5/12: Video of the gushing
To help: The IBRRC has been inundated
with questions about how people can help. While those responsible
for this spill are covering the cost of the Gulf clean-up,
you can support the ongoing work of the non-profit organizations
currently on the ground preparing to respond to oiled wildlife.
You can support International
Bird Rescue's ongoing rescue work by donating, becoming
a member or adopting a bird, all available online here.
Please also consider donating to Tri-State
Bird Rescue & Research with whom IBRRC is partnering
in this ongoing effort on the Gulf Coast. (Tri-State
this winter undertook the very expensive rescue operation
of frost-bitten pelicans noted below in the section on
Maryland pelicans; IBRRC has had the heavy costs of this
past winter's California Brown Pelican problems.)
- pelicans dying and: cold... |
Answers found |
Avalon - a sweet story of caring |
Badgers (and skunks) bail |
Breton National Wildlife Refuge | CA
pelicans - storm - Santa Barbara - IBRRC
1/26 | CA pelicans updates: 2/6
- Morro Bay, 2/8
- SB, 2/10
- IBRRC, 2/17 still baffled 2/20-SB | climate
change issues | cruelty |
DDT - awareness | domoic
acid | Florida,
cold | Florida - aggressive
pelicans | Florida
- Fort Pierce | frostbite,
Del | Henry - The Friendship
Continues | Horicon | IBRRC
- new funding needed | Illinois
- White Pelicans arrive | Maryland
pelicans | Mississippi brown
pelicans | Oil spill of "national
significance" | Oregon
coast; Bandon 3/25 |Oregon
coast - pelicans dying - 1/26 | Oregon
- Feds Plead | Won't "flow" south
from Oregon! | Pelican
Island - FL | Pity
the White Pelican | Power
lines - "Walter" | Reward
offered |Skunk-eat-pelican-eat-trout | stomped
on but recovering | Struggling
to survive | Tri-State pelicans
release | Ventura | White
Pelicans arrive Chase Lake |White
Pel. in Mo.
The perils of the pelican
May 27, 2010 Pity the pelican: misunderstood and wrongly
accused of taking a bite out of trout numbers in Montana
and here on the Missouri River.
Each spring the carcasses begin showing up in the river
after the vandals start shooting.
Folks who live on the river between Cascade and Holter
Lake call to let us know that the mayhem has begun. One
here, another there, three or four there. All summer long
the calls will continue.
Why shoot a pelican? Well, some people believe they eat
enough trout to threaten the population. Not likely: pelicans
have been here for years and the trout population on the
Missouri is well within the long-term averages. :::snip:::
White pelicans — the kind we have here — can
only reach as far into the water as their bills will let
"If a person is fishing and they play a trout and
they play it and play it and it gets tired and it is near
the top of the water, a pelican is going to take it. They
are predators and they are opportunists," Johnson
Otherwise, the trout likely can escape the pelican.
In North Dakota, a study of pelicans found that the majority
of their diets was salamanders, Johnson says.
The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks website "field
guide" says that pelicans are not a major predator
of trout. While the diet at the four Montana colonies of
white pelican has not been studied, "observations
of prey remains at the Medicine Lake colony include carp,
fathead minnow, suckers, northern pike, goldeye, sturgeon
and adult and larval tiger salamanders."
At Canyon Ferry and Arod lakes, observers saw pelicans
eating non-game fish including suckers, carp and bullheads.
Birds flock back to Pelican Island
Posted: 2010 May 21 - 00:41
...It looks like the birds are coming back this season," said
Joanna Webb, refuge ranger.
This nesting season has seen an increase in birds finding
shelter on the island
According to preliminary biologist research in late April,
there are six pairs of nesting wood storks, three pairs
of nesting brown pelicans and four pairs of nesting great
Also unusual for this time of year are a high number of
white pelicans roosting on the island, Ms. Webb said.
A count in April noted 28 white pelicans hanging out on
the island. Various types of egrets have been seen coming
and going, as well.
The arrival of the wood storks seems to be a good sign,
the ranger said.
Wood storks are the only stork that breeds in North America
and is the only bird that currently nests on Pelican Island
that is on the federal endangered species list. :::snip:::
The island is designed to be a refuge so birds can relax
without having to fear about human contact, she said. The
closest anyone can go to the island is behind the water
barrier clearly marked with poles around the circumference
of the island.
Efforts to restore sections of the island seem to be having
the desired affect, more birds coming back to nest and
rest on the island, Ms. Webb said.
"It's going to pay off in the long run, we just have
to be patient," she said.
To learn more about conservation efforts and animals at
the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, visit www.fws.gov/pelicanisland.
Badgers, skunk bail off pelican island in Idaho ± By
JOHN MILLER (AP)
– May 14, 2010 BOISE, Idaho — The badgers
bailed. The skunk skedaddled. The pelicans persevere.
In April, the state Department of Fish and Game put five
predators — three badgers, two skunks — on
an island in the Blackfoot Reservoir in southeastern Idaho
in a bid to keep American white pelicans from nesting there.
In 2009, Fish and Game proposed shooting pelicans and
oiling their eggs to keep them from hatching.
That angered some who like the big birds. And the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service, the federal agency that manages
migratory birds under a 1918 law, appeared likely to shoot
down Idaho's proposed lethal measures after calling them
an "eradication program."
As a result, Gamblin's agency decided to unleash the badgers
That the predators bolted isn't exactly a surprise....
See also: for information on what the White
Pelicans mostly eat - and it's not trout! http://www.greatfallstribune.com/article/20100527/LIFESTYLE05/5270313/The+perils+of+the+pelican
Walter gets a new walk of life: Pelican rescued near Como
gets a pool ?and a paddle mate
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 6:54 PM
May 11--DURAND -- The migrating white pelican that was
rescued last week after colliding with power wires near
Como has lost a wing but gained a name and a roommate.
Walter, as the pelican's rescuers have named him, underwent
a 2.5-hour surgery over the weekend to remove a mangled
right wing and repair some internal damage to his right
Although he's on the mend, Walter's fate still rests with
of officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and
the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said Tom
Marini, Walter's rescuer.
"We're doing everything possible to make sure he
has the best chance to recover," Marini said. "I
don't want to see him suffer, but if he heals and he's
OK, I think he'd make an excellent education bird to [use
to] talk about what man does to nature."
The nature officials' decision will weigh Walter's quality
of life -- whether the Earth-bound pelican can live out
his years happily under human protection or whether he's
better off euthanized. ...
..."They look like they're almost doing a dance," said
Sue Long, 63, of the flocks of white pelicans that nest
in the marsh. "They go up and around and then down.
A lot of people don't realize how much stuff is here."...
La. Refuge Established by Teddy Roosevelt in Harm's Way
By ROBIN BRAVENDER of Greenwire
Published: May 4, 2010
BRETON NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, La. -- Nesting season
is in full swing for brown pelicans on Breton Island, the
southern end of a chain of barrier marshes stretched along
Louisiana's Gulf Coast. :::snip:::
Pelicans nest at Chase Lake
4/29/2010 CHASE LAKE NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE, near Medina,
N.D. — While
exact counts won’t be known until census flights
are taken at the end of May, the American white pelican
seem to be doing well and settling into the task of raising
broods of young pelicans, said Paulette Scherr, wildlife
biologist for the Arrowwood Complex. The complex includes
the Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge near Medina.
“This looks like the start of a good season,” she
said. “The birds started arriving at the normal time
of about the first week of April. We have courtship flying
going on and some birds are laying eggs and on the nests
Clip from 5/1 BBC story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/video_and_audio/default.stm
Breton National Wildlife Refuge and the Nesting Brown
Pelicans - May 3, 2010 John Blatchford
On 2 May 2010 Scientific American reported that there
is "the possibility of some oil beaching on the Chandeleur
Islands ... and ... the Breton National Wildlife refuge".
This would be very bad news for the Brown Pelican population
of this area. :::snip:::
The refuge suffered badly when Hurricane Katrina swept
past in 2005, and again in the same year when a small oil
spill from a storm-damaged drilling platform was blown
ashore. The hurricane destroyed many young pelicans at
their nest sites, and the oil fouled the area killing many
of those that were left.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has stated that the
Deepwater Horizon accident could "leak 100,000 barrels
of oil per day", making it much more serious than
the 2005 spill.
Brown Pelican Nesting Sites
The nesting grounds of the Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)
within the Breton National Wildlife Refuge are a critical
part of their habitat.
The pelicans are at their most vulnerable to oil fouling
when nesting on the ground, but even those nesting in mangrove
trees are dependent on nearby fish for survival. :::snip:::
John Philips - obit
John Philips – Guardian of marine life
At the time, the issue of ocean pollutants, particularly
the synthetic pesticide DDT, had become a pressing national
and international issue. Phillips' research and efforts
to raise awareness about the effects of DDT on brown pelicans
and other marine organisms had helped lead to the first
U.S. ban of the chemical in 1972. The brown pelican was
listed as an endangered species in 1970.
In 1969, Phillips sent an open letter to then-Gov. Ronald
Reagan, calling for a ban on DDT. The letter, signed by
60 marine scientists from 15 institutions, expressed concern
of "wholesale damage to important world fisheries" and
warned of the "possible loss of whole categories of
animals which play important roles in preserving on the
planet an environment favorable to man."
According to Baldridge, "it was evidence that was
gathered at Hopkins by Phillips and others that was able
to turn the tide on DDT and get control of some other pollutants."
The 1972 ban on DDT is cited as the primary reason that
the brown pelican population has recovered from the brink
of extinction. The bird was removed from the endangered
list in 2009. :::snip:::
It's a skunk-eat-pelican-eat-trout world out there
Nicholas Neely | Apr 27, 2010 01:38 PM
Each spring, on the shores of Nevada's Pyramid Lake, fishermen
in waders stand 50 feet out in the water, on stepladders,
casting long, narrow loops for huge Lahontan trout. They
look a little like Kodiak bears lined up on an Alaskan
river. But, these men aren't the only fishers around. American
white pelicans glide long, slow stretches over the lake,
skimming above their coal-and-ivory reflections.
Pelicans are charismatic, and stirring to watch. So a
recent dispatch from Idaho caught my attention: the state's
Department of Fish and Game just released three badgers
and two skunks on Gull Island in the Blackfoot Reservoir,
which, like Pyramid Lake, hosts one of the 13 to 15 major
breeding colonies of white pelicans in the West. These
mustelids are charged with just one thing: devouring pelican
eggs. The department wants to reduce the colony's populations
from 2,400 birds to 700, because they apparently threaten
the native Yellowstone cutthroat trout that live in the
reservoir and spawn in the Blackfoot River. They also scarf
up stocked rainbow trout, to the aggravation of anglers.
NSBNEWS.net videos by Sera Frederick
The video shows bird rescuer Marilyn Sullivan
appealing to the city to put up signs informing people
not to feed pelicans because it makes them more aggressive
and dependent on humans for food.
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Bird rescuer Marilyn Sullivan appealed
to the City Commission to put up signs alerting people
not to feed pelicans.
"They are getting so aggressive because people are
feeding them," she said. "It is against the law
in Florida to feed pelicans." Sullivan said that perhaps
if people stopped feeding the pelicans they'd become less
City Manager Pam Brangaccio told the commissioners that
not only could the city put up signs, but also put an announcement
on the Web site, which the city had posted for several
Here is a link to Florida law prohibiting the feeding
15 Brown Pelicans found dead, cause unknown
April 12, 2010 3:56 PM
Fort Pierce- 15 Brown Pelicans were found dead earlier
today near Taylor Creek spillway in Fort Pierce. Florida
Fish and Wildlife says it appears that the birds had been
there for some time, and that there are no obvious signs
of trauma. The birds may have been poisoned in some way.
Brown Pelicans are protected under both state and federal
laws. Authorities suggest that if they become a nuissance
you dispose of any scraps of food, particularly fish, quickly.
It is illegal to harass and feed them. Brown Pelicans are
very social birds who often travel in large flocks and
will return to spots where they have found previous sources
of food. If they find spots where they recieve "free
meals" they wont migrate and will suffer from exposure
to the cold.
The Brown Pelican was placed on the endangered species
list in 1970. After the 1972 ban on DDT the species' reproduction
rates improved significantly, and in 1985 was removed from
the endangered species list. http://www.cbs12.com/articles/brown-4725377-pelicans-species.html
3 MONTHS LATER:
Tri-State Bird Rescue to release rehabilitated pelicans
Posted Apr 09, 2010 @ 04:14 PM Newark, Del. —
Three months after their arrival at Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research,
16 rehabilitated brown pelicans are being prepared for
their return to the wild. (see the linked Maryland
story for the rescue.)
These pelicans were brought to Tri-State from southern
Maryland in early January, suffering from frostbite and
starvation as a result of the early freeze in December.
The birds were given life-saving medical care as well as
a steady diet of fish, and have continued to be housed
at Tri-State awaiting warmer weather.
Now that the temperature has warmed and other pelicans
are returning to the southern Chesapeake Bay area, these
healthy birds can be released.
In anticipation of their upcoming departure, Tri-State
staff gave each bird a final medical evaluation to ensure
that it is healthy and will be able to survive in the wild.
Each pelican was fitted with a permanent metal band, so
it can be identified and tracked if spotted by the public
or wildlife biologists.
In cooperation with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Tri-State
will return these birds to their home in the Chesapeake
Bay on Monday. With the help of U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service biologists, the pelicans will be transported by
boat and released into an island colony.
By introducing them to an existing flock that did migrate,
Tri-State and local officials hope that these birds will
not stay too long in the area next winter.
“This couldn't have been done without the support
of our dedicated volunteers who cared for the pelicans
rain or shine and the generosity of the donors who enabled
us to purchase thousands of pounds of fish to feed the
pelicans,” said Tri-State’s executive director,
Heidi Stout, VMD.
Copyright 2010 Sussex Countian. Some rights reserved http://www.sussexcountian.com/newsnow/x863092462/Tri-State-Bird-Rescue-to-release-rehabilitated-pelicans
Pelicans drop in at Nelson Lake
March 26, 2010
By NICK SWEDBERG For Sun-Times Media
BATAVIA -- It took some doing for Jennifer Duncan and
her husband to convince her mother Marie Moulton that she
wasn't kidding about the giant birds down the street.
Who could blame Duncan, a 47-year-old North Aurora resident?
Pelicans with nine-foot wingspans in a Kane County pond
aren't exactly an everyday occurrence. :::snip:::
For two or three weeks, the northbound pelicans will rest
in Illinois before continuing their journey to Canada or
the far northern states. They have used the marshy lake
as a layover for about a decade on their annual migration
from the south. On Thursday, the birds were alse seen swooping
and diving in a pond alongside the Prestbury subdivision
near Sugar Grove. :::snip:::
As the weather warms, more will start to show up, Metanchuk
The lake also contains plenty of fish, and human activity
near the lake is limited. When birds visit, they'll bring
their young ones with them and they learn to come back
to the same lake, local experts said.
While the lake has been there much longer, the birds only
have been using it as a layover destination for the last
several years. Metanchuk credits the efforts to preserve
the natural marsh area as part of the reason they flock
"We like to think that if you build the right habitat
for them ... they will come there," she said.
BANDON - Large numbers of hungry
brown pelicans remain in the port along docks and rock
jetties. Viewing Outlook: March 25, 2010 http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100325/LIFE/3250303
Pelican, ’stomped on’ by
March 19th, 2010, 2:39 pm · 24 Comments · posted
by Pat Brennan, green living, environment editor
A California brown pelican whose beak was stomped on and
crushed by a fisherman is recovering at a Huntington Beach
care center, though the bird must heal further before being
The bird was injured Sunday when it swooped down on a
fish on the Newport Beach pier that belonged to fisherman
Daniel Moreno III, 19, of Perris, Calif.
Moreno was accused of stomping on the pelican’s
beak and splitting it. He was arrested on suspicion of
cruelty to animals, said Newport Beach police Sgt. Steve
(All pelicans are protected by Migratory Bird Treaty Act,
with penalties for a misdemeanor conviction of up 6 months
in jail and a $15,000 fine for harming. See here for the
Answers Found to Pelican Mass Stranding Mystery
The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) is reporting
that the primary causes of the recent Brown Pelican mass
stranding (involving varying degrees of incapacitation
of hundreds of birds) along the Oregon and California Coast
are related to shortages of preferred prey items, such
as anchovies and sardines, and rough winter weather likely
related to the current El Niño event.
CDFG, the U.S. Geological Survey National Wildlife Health
Center, Sea World San Diego and the International Bird
Rescue Research Center (IBRRC) pooled their efforts to
determine the causes for the bird deaths and strandings,
and ruled out infectious disease and marine toxins as major
contributory factors. Some pelicans have had waterproofing
problems with their feathers, possibly related to storm
runoff from recent heavy coastal rains.
More than 300 birds are being rehabilitated at the IBRRC
facilities in San Pedro and Cordelia, California. CDFG
has been donating frozen trout to organizations conducting
the rescue feeding. Rehabilitation has been taking one
to two weeks and rescued birds are said to be responding
well to treatment. Birds first became stranded around the
middle of January but the numbers being recovered each
day have greatly diminished in recent days.
“When you allow overfishing of any seabird’s
prey base and then compound that with impacts from El Nino
events, which may become stronger or more common with climate
change, you are spelling disaster for the bird. Their prey
bases have got to be better protected if they are to survive
long term,” said Dr. Jessica Hardesty Norris, American
Bird Conservancy Seabird Program Director.
March 13, 2010
Brown pelicans won't flow south from Oregon coast and
that worries scientists
By Lynne Terry, The Oregonian
March 12, 2010, 6:06PM
Unlike past years, they've refused to return to California.
In January, scientists were stunned to see hundreds of
brown pelicans that normally fly south before winter lingering
on the Oregon coast.
Now it's March and dozens are still here.
"This is a first for us," said Roy Lowe, seabird
specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Biologists are worried. :::snip::: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/03/brown_pelicans_wont_flow_south.html
(includes readers' comments.)
The friendship continues
By Mike Odom, Staff Writer
(Created: Sunday, March 7, 2010 10:05 AM CST)
FAIRHOPE, Ala. — “She’s been a big part
of my life,” said James Blevins this week of his
brown pelican buddy who goes by the name of Henry, but
which he now thinks is a female bird. A girl pelican named
Henry. If only Johnny Cash were still alive to write a
song about it.
On a bitterly cold morning this week, James Blevins keeps
watch for Henry the pelican, while armed with a bagful
of fish for his good friend. Blevins travels more than
a mile every morning by motorized cart to check up on Henry.
The pelican disappeared recently for reasons explained
in the article, but she’s back now, to James’ great
The relationship between James and Henry has reached near
mythic status, with many unbelievers, until they see man
and bird together. Their story has even become memorialized
in a children’s book published last year by a local
author, who also had to shake her head in wonder when she
saw Henry waddling along behind James on his motorized
cart, right there along Mobile Bay on a sidewalk. :::snip:::
Background to the story: http://www.americanprofile.com/heroes/article/29732.html
and: with a video: http://www.wkrg.com/alabama/article/the_pelican/19166/Sep-30-2008_12-14-am/
Brown pelicans in Mississippi
Louisiana's state bird continues its comeback
OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (AP) — They glide so gracefully
over the Mississippi Sound and their landings look smooth
and effortless. Even on a cold winter’s day, you
can catch them plunging for fish or perching with their
friends on a pier.
“When flying, they’re the most majestic beautiful
birds you ever saw,” said Doug Hunt, with the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service. “When doing anything else,
they’re pretty laughable. They’re clumping
Hunt has worked closely with brown pelicans for the past
12 years.He remembers those years when the pelicans were
not so plentiful.
“I moved to Biloxi in 1986,” Hunt said. “I
saw two pelicans that year, and I worked on Ship Island
Brown pelicans were nowhere to be found in Mississippi
or Louisiana in the early 60s. :::snip:::
Pelicans eat through bird-rescue group's budget
The San Pedro nonprofit is shoveling out $11,000 a month
to feed hundreds of ravenous birds that turned up sick
last month along the West Coast.
Afternoon feeding time creates a frenzy around the outside
aviary at the International Bird Rescue Research Center
in San Pedro, where scores of pelicans have been rehabilitated
and returned to the wild. (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles
Times) Photos: Saving starving pelicans Photos: Saving
By Jill Leovy February 20, 2010
The San Pedro nonprofit group charged with treating sick
pelicans is suffering an affliction of its own: strapped
That's because a cold and starving pelican eats a whopping
6 pounds of fish a day -- half its body weight.
Hundreds of brown pelicans turned up dead or ailing along
the West Coast in January after what researchers said was
a miscalculation: They strayed to the far northern edge
of their range, stayed too long and ran out of food. When
they came south, they found food scant here too.
So they turned up listless on beaches or begging for food
in parking lots, and were rescued by San Pedro's Oiled
Bird Care and Education Center.
The facility is run by the International Bird Rescue Research
Center, which has a $1.1-million annual budget and is one
of the largest in the state's network of groups that rescue
birds affected by oil spills.
The group was able to save about two-thirds of the 435
pelicans it has treated so far at its two coastal centers,
but the effort has meant shoveling out $11,000 a month
for pelican all-you-can-eat seafood dinners.
The pelican episode has made it clear that their efforts
must expand beyond oil spill response, Kelway said.
The group has long aided injured birds. But now organizers
want to establish a well-funded service for mass rescues
of wildlife of all kinds, Kelway said. That means less
reliance on oil spill money and more fundraising, he said.
The shift comes as other large die-offs unrelated to oil
spills have increased in recent years, including those
caused by algae blooms, he said. But there is another driver:
public attitudes. "What was exposed here was a public
expectation that someone will come take care of these animals," Kelway
In some ways, bird rescue is a victim of its own success:
Californians now assume when they see a sick bird that
someone will care for it, he said.
For now, although pelicans have eaten
through much of the bird-rescue group's food budget for
the entire year, organizers say that while their finances are spare, they
are beginning to develop new sources of support.
Meanwhile, the pelicans are recovering.
Pelicans at Risk
Mysterious Illness Afflicts California Natives
Saturday, February 20, 2010
By Rachel Mattovich
Though they were removed from both the state and federal
endangered species lists in 2009, California brown pelicans
are coming dangerously close to extinction once again—after
inhabiting the earth for more than 40 million years.
Since the middle of January, from the coast of San Diego
to the beaches of Oregon, hundreds of brown pelicans have
been coming ashore distressed or dead. In Santa Barbara
County alone, the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network is
currently caring for more than 40 of the seabirds in its
small, private home care unit :::snip::: http://independent.com/news/2010/feb/20/pelicans-risk/
There have been occasional references
to domoic acid as a possible cause of the pelicans' recent
issues. Science Friday has an interesting discussion of
the toxin domoic acid/algal blooms and effects on sea lions: http://www.wbur.org/npr/123892168 NOAA
scientist John Ramsdell mentions how anchovies, a main
food of pelicans, concentrate domoic acid.
Wave of ill brown pelicans baffles scientists
Matthai Kuruvila, Chronicle Staff Writer - Wednesday,
February 17, 2010
Brown pelicans, whose wave-skimming and dive-bombing for
fish are familiar to people who spend time on the California
coast, have been mysteriously falling ill and dying by
the hundreds over the past few weeks. :::snip:::
In addition, necropsies of the pelicans have shown that
the birds are eating prey, such as certain worms, inconsistent
with their normal diet of anchovies and sardines.
"We're still scratching our heads," said Esther
Burkett, a wildlife biologist with the California Department
of Fish and Game.
The contamination of bird feathers typically happens with
an oil spill. One theory is that the winter storms have
increased storm runoff, resulting in more oil and grease
on the shoreline.
Because brown pelicans are a near-shore species, they
might be more affected by runoff than other birds, Burkett
Officials said they don't know why the birds' diet has
Effect of El Niño
Another factor may be El Niño, which diminishes
the population of zooplankton, the food of choice for anchovies,
which the birds eat, Burkett said. The stormy seas also
may be making it more difficult for the pelicans to see
their food, she said.
Workers at the bird rescue center have been somewhat taken
aback by the number of birds coming in, and they are struggling
to keep up with their care. When an oil spill is the cause,
there are clear funding sources, said Paul Kelway, a spokesman.
But in this situation, the nonprofit center is picking
up much of the cost - such as the 1,000 pounds of fish
a day needed to feed the ailing birds. :::snip:::
LOS ANGELES — California brown pelicans have recently
been dying in large numbers for reasons wildlife officials
don't yet fully understand.
Organizations like the International Bird Rescue Research
Center are maxed out, with no more room and little money
left to help, spokesman Paul Kelway said.
There are usually about 400 pelicans among the more than
2,000 birds the San Pedro center takes in every year, but
it has received more than 300 pelicans in the last three
weeks. About 100 sick pelicans (63, including 10 to the
Wildlife Care, according to the SBWCN) from
Santa Barbara were sent to the IBRRC's Northern California
center, and a quarter of all the pelicans received at the
two centers in the last three weeks have died, Kelway said.
"Many of them were severely emaciated and hypothermic,
and we couldn't get to them in time," Kelway said.
The Southern California center released 14 pelicans Wednesday
afternoon to make room for more of the ailing birds. :::snip:::
Some parts of Los Angeles County have received close to
12 inches of rain in the last few weeks. The birds, already
weak from lack of food, have gotten soaked, and in the
ocean they've found themselves bathed in a murky runoff
goo that has coated their already faltering feathers with
a layer of grease. Another possible cause is an algae bloom,
Feathers have been taken from the sick birds and sent
to a lab, he said.
When there is no food in the water, the birds will look
on land, Kelway said, and they're ailing in very public
places — on piers, at restaurants, hotels, harbors
"People are upset," he said. "They expect
us to rescue these birds."
About 1,000 California brown pelicans stayed in Oregon
this year instead of migrating south to breeding grounds.
It could be a natural pelican die-off, Kelway said, but
biologists don't know yet. :::snip:::
Santa Barbara Seabird Pond
comes to aid of distressed pelicans : Recent rains, mysterious
affliction have taken toll on local populations
MARCI WORMSER, NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER -- February 9,
2010 3:30 AM
During the recent rainstorms, the concern of many residents
was directed toward roadway flooding and the potential
for mudslides to occur in local burn areas. Few area residents,
however, have been made aware of another troubling storm-related
issue that can potentially devastate the local ecosystem.
As a result of this year's heavy rains, brown pelicans
throughout the Central Coast and Oregon have been suffering
from hypothermia and starvation at an alarming rate. Over
the past month alone, more than 100 of the ill sea birds
have been discovered in the area between Port Hueneme and
Lompoc — especially at Ventura Harbor and throughout
Santa Barbara City beaches — and brought to the Seabird
Pond in Santa Barbara for desperately needed medical attention
"This is the worst year I've ever seen, and I've
been doing this for 11 years," said June Taylor, manager
of the Seabird Pond. The Seabird Pond is a Santa Barbara
Wildlife Care Network satellite facility that cares for
sick and injured sea birds. :::snip::: http://www.newspress.com/Top/Article/article.jsp?Section=LOCAL&ID=565805038031732832
(paid subscriber access only.)
Sick pelicans overwhelm local rescue centers
Organizations apply for state, federal help while they
search for the cause of illness
By David Sneed | firstname.lastname@example.org
Officials from wildlife rescue organizations in the state
say they are struggling with an influx of starving brown
Rescue centers in Southern California have been hit hardest.
Almost 500 sick pelicans have been brought in statewide
since the first of the year.
The large seabirds — all adults — are coming
in weak, starving and occasionally injured, said Dani Nicholson,
president of Pacific Wildlife Care. The group’s Morro
Bay rehabilitation center has gotten 20 pelicans since
the first of the year.
“It’s unprecedented,” she said. “We’re
Wildlife veterinarians are trying to determine the cause
of the influx, Nicholson said. Toxic algal blooms, battering
by recent storms and disruptions in the marine food chain
caused by the El Niño weather event are all possibilities.
The birds are typically found standing disoriented in
the middle of a road or some other unusual place. In addition
to the pelicans rescued locally, the Morro Bay hospital
is taking them from overwhelmed hospitals in Southern California.
The influx has caused four rescue organizations, including
Pacific Wildlife Care, to appeal to state and federal authorities
for help. They are afraid they may have to close their
doors temporarily in order to cope, said Jay Holcomb of
the International Bird Rescue Research Center, which operates
facilities in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas.
“Members of the public are reporting sightings of
sick and dying birds with increasing frequency, and there
may be a negative reaction if there is an expectation of
care for these birds but no resources to respond,” he
In spite of the crisis, Pacific Wildlife Care rescuers
say people should continue to report sick or stranded pelicans
by calling 543-9453 or 772-9453.
Reach David Sneed at 781-7930. http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/story/1018180.html
Brown pelicans struggling
Kim Murphy, February
Reporting from Astoria, Ore. - All along the Oregon coast
over the last month, hundreds of brown pelicans have turned
up dead, starving or begging for food.
As many as 1,000 of the gangly seabirds failed to make
their annual fall migration to California, many instead
winding up at Oregon's rehabilitation centers.
Those that did head south, leaving the Pacific Northwest
winter behind, were battered by California's recent storms.
Shelters in San Pedro and the San Francisco Bay Area are
also full of emaciated pelicans.
Researchers, at a loss to explain the casualties, are
looking at unusual ocean currents and the depletion of
fish stocks -- as well as warmer temperatures, toxic runoff
and algae blooms -- as possible causes.
Meanwhile, pelicans are sitting listlessly on beaches
and scavenging outside restaurants and canneries. :::snip::::
Feds plead: Don't
feed the pelicans — Thursday,
January 28, 2010
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been receiving
calls about California brown pelicans that are either washing
up dead on the Oregon coast or exhibiting behavior that
is uncharacteristic for the species, for example, begging
for food, having no fear of humans and eating bread crumb
Many of the birds are emaciated or starving, and this
is the reason for their seeming lack of fear of humans,
a press release from USFWS said. :::snip:::
Recent storms and high winds have limited the pelicans’ ability
to hunt and dive for food. These and other unknown factors
contribute to the pelicans’ behavior of begging for
food. The USFWS discourages hand-feeding pelicans, as their
diet is very specific. The well-intentioned feeding of
bones and heads of fish to pelicans can cause damage to
their throat pouch. Also, fish bait can be contaminated
with harmful bacteria or may be treated with chemicals
to promote better fishing or preserve the bait, but it
can make a pelican very ill.
The pelicans are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty
Act, which makes it illegal :::snip:::
If the bird is in the area of the coast from Florence
south to Gold Beach, call Free Flight Bird and Marine Mammal
Rehabilitation at 541-347-3882. You can visit their Web
site at http://www.freeflight-wildlife.org.
If the bird is in the area of the coast from Astoria to
Yachats, call the Wildlife Center of the North Coast at
(503) 338-3954 or visit http://www.coastwildlife.org/Home.html.
Pelicans starve along Oregon coast — Published: Jan. 29,
2010 at 3:04 PM
ASTORIA, Ore., Jan. 29 (UPI) -- Scores of brown pelicans
that failed to migrate south have starved or been injured
along Oregon's coast this winter, biologists said.
The birds are some of the estimated 20,000 brown pelicans
that live along the Oregon coast in warmer months and migrate
to Southern California and Mexico for the winter to breed.
A shift in ocean and wind patterns, which could be related
to climate change, provided an abundance of bait fish for
the pelicans to eat through last month.
Now, the food supply has moved into deeper waters, forcing
the pelicans to come ashore to hunt for food around piers,
backyards and beaches, The
(Portland) Oregonian reported
"This is the most (pelicans) we've ever seen here
in January," said Roy Lowe of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
office in Newport.
Dozens have starved to death, while an estimated 100 dying
and injured pelicans were being treated at the Wildlife
Center of the North Coast near Astoria. http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2010/01/29/Pelicans-starve-along-Oregon-coast/UPI-46421264795454/
SAN PEDRO -- Nearly 70 California brown pelicans have
been rescued by wildlife officials after days of heavy
rains and flooding in Southern California.
"As well as coping with the storms, many of the pelicans
we have received have seal bite injuries, a result of feeding
frenzies due to commercial and public fishing. These injuries
make it even more difficult for the birds to cope with
the severe weather conditions out there this week."
Over the next week, workers will feed the birds, warm
them up, wash them off and get them ready for release.
That process could take five to seven days per bird. ...
Treatment costs about $500 a bird, Kelway said.
video on hypothermia treatment: http://www.ktla.com/news/landing/ktla-video-pelican-treatment,0,959365.tivideo
AVALON, CATALINA ISLAND - "Good Time
Charlie" was having a bad day.
Charlie, a brown pelican
who frequented the mole in Avalon, had for reasons unknown
- perhaps trying to free himself from a tangle of fishing
line - suffered a compound fracture of his wing. His other
wing was deformed at birth. :::snip:::
With a little tender loving care, and some
creative acrylic work to rebuild the bird's beak, Boo Boo,
along with Good Time Charlie, were well enough to leave
the Animal Hospital. Although they won't be able to fly
again, the birds will have a comfortable life on the mainland
as educational ambassadors at a rescue center.
Back on Catalina, Richard and Anney Denney
continue the challenge of caring for Island pets and wildlife.
And as for birds, the Denneys see a sick or injured one
just about every week. Aside from fishermen who drop off
portions of their catch to help feed them, no one picks
up the tab for the life-saving care provided for lucky
birds like Good Time Charlie. :::snip:::
Pelicans found dead during cold snap suffered in final
By Ben Raines
January 26, 2010, 8:01AM
MOBILE, Ala. -- Autopsy results from a handful of the
100-plus sea birds found dead on Dauphin Island and the
Fort Morgan peninsula during the recent cold snap paint
a picture of the animals' bleak final days.
With signs of frostbite and gangrene visible on their
webbed feat, the autopsies showed that the birds died of
starvation. One pelican had internal injuries from a hunk
of wood it had eaten, suggesting that food had been hard
to find just before it died.
The same cold front that forced the birds to hunker down
behind sand dunes also drove the bait fish that pelicans,
terns and gulls eat into deeper water. :::snip:::
Brown Pelicans are
dying on the Oregon coast - Story Updated:
Jan 27, 2010 at 11:24 AM PST
OREGON COAST - Brown Pelicans are washing up dead along
the Oregon coast and those that are surviving are starving
and begging for food from beachcombers, according to the
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
According to wildlife officials, the pelicans usually
head south in large numbers in October. But this winter,
a large number of them stayed along the Oregon coast and
recent storms and high winds have limited their ability
to hunt and dive for food.
Should you feed them?
The answer is NO. The pelicans have a particular diet
and despite your good intentions, you may be doing them
more harm than good. For example, feeding them the bones
and heads of fish can cause damage to their throat pouch
and fish bait may be contaminated with harmful bacteria
or be treated with chemicals that can make a pelican very
What can you do?
If you come across a Brown Pelican that appears to be
* If the bird is in the area of the coast from Astoria
to Yachats, call the Wildlife Center of the North Coast
at (503) 338-3954.
* If the bird is in the area of the coast from Florence
south to Gold Beach, call Free Flight Bird Rehabilitation
at (541) 347-3882.
If you come across a dead Brown Pelican...
* Leave it where you found it. Under the Migratory Bird
Treaty Act it is illegal to possess any part of a migratory
bird, dead or alive.
* Contact the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team
at (206) 221-6893.
More on this:
Calif. brown pelicans linger on Oregon coast
By STEVEN DUBOIS Associated Press Writer
Posted: 01/26/2010 05:51:24 PM PST
Updated: 01/26/2010 05:51:25 PM PST
PORTLAND, Ore.—California brown pelicans are begging
for food on the Oregon coast rather than migrating south
to breeding grounds.
An estimated 1,000 brown pelicans have remained on the
state's coast, an unheard of number at a time of year when
they should be in Mexico or Southern California. About
50 birds have died, but wildlife officials expect the number
to escalate, said Dawn Grafe, visitor services manager
for the Oregon Coast Wildlife Refuge Complex.
Pelican die-offs, however, are not uncommon, and Julia
Parrish, a seabird biologist at the University of Washington,
cautions that it's too early to say if this will be "a
big story or a blip on the radar screen."
"Nobody's knee-deep in pelicans that we know of," she
Brown pelicans have steadily been expanding north. They
typically migrated from Oregon and Washington in October
or November, but they lingered until late December last
winter. No one is certain why there are still here in late
January, but theories range from the weather to an abundance
of bait fish in early winter that enticed them to stay.
Strong winds and severe storms have limited the pelicans'
ability to hunt and dive for food that has since been pushed
by currents to deeper waters, Grafe said.
"They don't have the energy," Grafe said. "They're
so emaciated, so starving."
So the pelicans try to survive on bread crumbs or anything
else they can get from humans. Typically unapproachable,
the birds are surrounding visitors who come to see the
look not seen in summer months.
Karen Munson of Brookings, who describes herself as a
casual bird-watcher, saw about a dozen pelicans Monday
at the Port of Brookings Harbor. She said some walked right
up to her Jeep Wrangler, close enough to touch if she were
inclined to roll down the window, which she wasn't.
"They do go right up to people," she said. "I
saw one of them pull a man's jacket."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has urged residents
not to feed the pelicans, saying it will further disrupt
their migration patterns. People who find a starving or
injured bird are asked to leave it alone and contact a
wildlife rehabilitation center, such as the Astoria-based
Wildlife Center of the North Coast or the Bandon-based
Free Flight Bird Rehabilitation.
On the Net:
California brown pelicans battered by rain, runoff
The Associated Press
Posted: 01/22/2010 11:19:26 AM PST
LOS ANGELES—Wildlife officials say they have collected
nearly 70 California brown pelicans in two counties who
have been battered by rains and runoff. Officials at the
International Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro
say they are gearing up for dozens more.
Most of the birds are suffering from hypothermia, their
feathers stained by oil and grease from massive runoff.
Unable to get dry or warm, the birds' immune systems start
failing and birds become weak.
Center spokesman Paul Kelway says there are 33 pelicans
already being treated at the center and Santa Barbara County
authorities are bringing in 36.
Kelway says crews are also in Santa Monica where they've
got reports that dozens of the birds are in trouble.
Authorities say they have found two dead pelicans and
two died after arriving at the center.
the contaminants, one of the week's top photos. While waterproof
feathers usually allow pelicans to float and stay insulated
from weather changes, the current massive runoff from storms
has brought even more grease, car oil sheen, fish oils
and other forms of surface pollution into the coastal areas
where these birds feed. Link.
Trash on the beaches from the storms: http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_14265817
And in Santa Barbara:
Hungry Pelicans Hit the Streets
Loss of Harbor’s Bait Dock Sends Birds Searching
for Alternative Food Sources
Saturday, January 23, 2010
by ANNA POLLOCK Comments (9)
Distressed pelicans gathered on Cabrillo Boulevard Thursday
due to winter storms and diminishing food sources. One
of the main causes of the unusual event was reportedly
the city’s removal of a key food source for local
pelicans — the harbor’s bait dock — which
was moved in anticipation of this week’s storms.
:::snip::: (NB: the bait barge was not used for feeding
pelicans, but for roosting.)
KSDK -- The World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park is dealing
with two unique cases.
A couple found a white pelican in their yard. The bird
has a hurt wing. Veterinarians suspect the bird may have
landed on a pond overnight and its wing froze in the water.
The sanctuary is also caring for an osprey. It has two
hurt wings. Two bald eagles attacked the bird near Bennett
Veterinarians say it's very rare to see either bird in
our area this time of the year. They suspect both will
be ok and able to be released back into the wild.
Cold Kills More Than 100 Birds
by Jamie Burch
Published: Tue, January 12, 2010 - 1:52 pm CST
PELICAN ISLAND, Alabama - Biologists with the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service are investigating the deaths of at
least 100 birds.
The birds, mainly brown pelicans, were found on the southern
tip of Pelican Island, also known as Sand Island. :::snip::: “Local
residents tell us it’s not uncommon for juvenile
birds to die in colder temperatures," said Tuttle. “(But)
a mortality rate this high is too unusual to be ignored.”
Last week, News 5 found a few dead pelicans on Dauphin
Island. Experts at the Sea Lab told us they too were most
likely killed by the cold. http://www.wkrg.com/weather/article/cold_kills_more_than_100_birds/641544/Jan-12-2010_1-53-pm/
Reward offered to help find who injured nearly a dozen
By Amy.Hotz@StarNewsOnline.com; Published:
Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 6:57 p.m.
The Humane Society of the United States and
Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are offering a $2,500
reward for information leading to the identification, arrest
and conviction of the person or persons responsible for
breaking the wings of 10 brown pelicans along Brunswick
County beaches. :::snip:::
“There’s no other explanation. I’ve
had more than 50 pelicans this year. I had 40 last year,” she
said. “This is pretty precise. It’s always
the left wing. It’s always between the elbow and
the shoulder and it is splintered from the inside out as
though somebody were putting it across his knee or across
the railing on a boat. It’s pretty descriptive. There
couldn’t be another way to do that.”
If you find a pelican with an injury of this nature, contact
local law enforcement.
If you have any information about this case, contact the
North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission at 800-662-7137.
Amy Hotz: 343-2099 On Twitter.com: @AmyHotz
Pelicans with broken wings turning up on
Published December 31, 2009
“I don’t know what’s going
on but it’s really, really discouraging that someone
could be this incredibly cruel,” Rogers said. http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20091231/ARTICLES/912319981
State rescues pelicans in Southern Maryland that failed
to migrate for winter
RIDGE, MD - JANUARY 8: Maryland Department of Natural
Resources and local wildlife rehabilitators are trying
to capture and rescue a group of freezing brown pelicans
that failed to migrate last year from Ridge, MD on January
8, 2010. In recent years the pelicans have failed to leave.
Some speculate that they are feeding on fish from a nearby
stream thru November. About 15 pelicans have died from
the weather here and those that are rescued are sent to
Tri State Bird Rescue in Delaware.
By David A. Fahrenthold
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 9, 2010
This is the lesson of the frozen pelicans of Southern
Maryland: It is one thing to believe in natural selection.
It is another thing to watch it.
This week, as a curtain of bitter cold descended on the
region, about 40 brown pelicans were spotted -- starving,
freezing and in danger of dying -- on a wind-blasted shoreline
in St. Mary's County. They weren't supposed to be there:
The birds, relatively new arrivals on the Chesapeake Bay,
usually migrate south to escape mid-Atlantic winters.
But these birds didn't get the message. They stayed behind.
At the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, officials
knew the normal thing to do would be to leave the birds
to an ugly, frigid fate. In the wild, after all, evolution
doesn't give mulligans.
But this week, most of the birds were rescued by the state,
and they're waiting out the winter in a Delaware shelter
that provides heat and therapeutic foot baths.:::snip:::
More on this: http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20100120/DCP01/1200301
Where Did SF Bay's Sea Lions Go? Try Oregon
There have been noticeably fewer pelicans
in Santa Barbara so far this winter and the reason probably
is that many, along with SF's sea lions, are still feasting
in Oregon, 500 miles north around Florence.
..."Kim Raum-Suryan, a biologist at the Hatfield
Marine Science Center in Newport, noticed the number of
California sea lions at Heceta Head had doubled to some
5,000 in December and, like other scientists, figures the
simple answer is food.
My gut feeling is it has something to do with the
(ocean warming) El Nino conditions off California, which
is driving prey and sea lions up north," she said.
There are fewer herrings in San Francisco Bay, and a general
decline in sea lion food off California last summer triggered
a die-off of young sea lions making the transition from
mother's milk to fish.
:::snip::: Meanwhile, anchovies have been plentiful
in Oregon waters — so plentiful that brown pelicans
that normally winter in California are also hanging around,
said Bob Emmett, a fisheries biologist for NOAA Fisheries
Service in Newport :::snip"
See also the SFGate story on the sea lions attracted to
Oregon: "The question on everyone's mind lately has been:
Where have San Francisco's famous sea lions gone? The answer
might lie about 500 miles north of the Golden Gate, where
an estimated 2,000 sea lions have recently arrived off
the central Oregon coast. :::snip:::" http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/01/06/MN281BE41C.DTL
(and other creatures) brought in for care:
"In the first six days of 2010, 29 birds have been
brought to the MSC," said Rachelle LeBlanc, bird rehabilitation
specialist. "Last year, 16 birds came in during the
same time period. We have received a
wide variety of birds, including 12 brown pelicans, four
northern gannets, three laughing gulls and two common loons."
:::snip::: "In the first six days of 2010, 29 birds
have been brought to the MSC," said Rachelle LeBlanc,
bird rehabilitation specialist. "Last year, 16 birds
came in during the same time period. We have received a
wide variety of birds, including 12 brown pelicans, four
northern gannets, three laughing gulls and two common loons." :::snip:::
The brown pelican makes
By Chuck Graham 01/07/2010
Once teetering on the brink of extinction, California
brown pelicans are now flourishing along the Golden State’s
seashore. They’re commonly seen along our scenic
coastline and especially the offshore Channel Islands archipelago,
majestically gliding above the ocean, or roosting on guano-covered
The delisting of brown pelicans means federal agencies
no longer need to consider effects from approving developments
like roads, because brown pelicans have rebounded so well
after being listed for 40 years. However, with DDT still
in the ecosystem, scientists will continue to monitor population
Published: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 1:40 PM CST
Donations needed at Tri-State in Delaware as hungry, frostbitten
pelicans from Maryland head to Newark; they're immature
adult pelicans that failed to migrate to warmer climates.
A large group of brown pelicans suffering from frostbite
have been identified in southern Maryland and will soon
be on their way to Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research’s
rehabilitation center in Newark.
In cooperation with Maryland Department of Natural Resources
and local Maryland rehabilitators, many of these birds
have been captured and are awaiting transport to Tri-State.Go
to tristatebird.org for
information or call 302-737-9543
ALSO: Frostbitten pelicans fight to survive; see WindStar
Wildlife Institute: http://www.windstar.org/knowledge_center_article.cfm?articleID=326
Bird count tallies its 110th Christmas
Annual effort tracks spread and health of American species
Back in the early winters of 1987 and 1988, a group of
Delaware birdwatchers counted every bird species they saw
over a three-week period.
The most spectacular finding though, was a species they
didn't see: snow geese -- not one.
Fast forward to December 2008 and early January 2009.
The count for snow geese: 348,581.
The data collected in the annual Christmas Bird Count
-- the longest, continuous running snapshot of early winter
bird populations in the Western Hemisphere -- gives scientists
an early warning when species are declining, an indication
when they are growing or rebounding and the tools they
need to make policy decisions on climate change, habitat
fragmentation and recommendations on steps individuals
can take to make a difference.
Butcher said that many birds move great distances to find
suitable food and habitat. The big question is how far
they will be able to move in the face of climate change
before they run out of habitat, food or even luck.
"The longterm picture is not good for many species,
and even in the short term, a single harsh winter could
have a devastating impact on birds that have moved too
far," he said.
That happened during the winter of 2007, when a flock
of brown pelicans tried to winter on the Delmarva Peninsula.
Several of the birds died when their feet were frozen to
the ice and others were treated for frost bite at Tri-State
Bird Rescue & Research, near Newark.
here for February-June, 2009, pelican news
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