January, 2005 news about pelicans from around the world
way from normal-winter-home sightings
| California oil spill 1, 2,
3, 4, 5
| CO to TX | Florida
| Galveston deaths | IBRRC
| India 1, 2 | LA
pelis return | Mexico oil spill
1, 2 | Morro
Bay petition | Sea World | Winnapaug
Pond, RI 1, 2 | Turkey
Beach, FL News-Journal Online, January 27
raise concerns about bird sanctuary
By VIRGINIA SMITH
News-Journal Online.comUSA - In a stately procession Tuesday
morning, staff and volunteers at the Marine Science Center
carried pet kennels to the shore. One contained
two brown pelicans who'd arrived at the center's Mary Keller
Seabird Rehabilitation Sanctuary severely underweight. Now
they were fat and ready to fly.
But after weeks of convalescing they were reluctant to leave
the kennel. Rachelle LeBlanc, a sanctuary employee, secured
the pelicans by the beak and pulled them out toward the
sand -- and freedom. After a wobbly first few steps, each
pelican took off. A gull, also released Tuesday after its
broken wing had healed, gave itself a bath before it, too,
soared into a cloudless sky.
It was the very definition of a feel-good moment.
Yet the sanctuary has had a few feel-bad ones. Ever since
it opened in June, local bird rehabilitators have complained
to Volusia County that the sanctuary, which cost taxpayers
$463,000 to build, isn't doing enough for seabirds. Its
staff members are inaccessible, they said, and its hours
of operation are far too limited.
Marine Science Center officials say they have responded
to the complaints. "We knew we had some problems and
we fixed them," said John Crisp, who oversees the center
for the county.
One stated purpose of the spacious new sanctuary was to
relieve home rehabbers of caring for large seabirds like
pelicans, which take up a lot of room and eat a lot of food.
But so far, the rehabbers say, that hasn't happened.
:::snip::: (long article)
JANUARY 27, 2005, THE TIMES OF INDIA. CITIES: CHENNAI
Migratory birds at Pulicat
and Nelapattu lakes
CHENNAI: Tourists and bird lovers are in for a treat as
Flamingoes from as far away as Siberia and Rann of Kutch
along with grey Pelicans will be seen at Pulicat and Nelapattu
lakes in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh from Friday,
just as the fourth edition of the three day 'Flamingo' festival
About 600 Flamingos and Pelicans, the latter numbering
only 11,000 in the world, have already arrived at the two
lakes, Nellore Divisional Forest Officer, Nellore
P V Chalapathi Rao and G Babu Rao, consultant Architect,
Andhra Pradesh tourism department told reporters here.
Besides taking tourists to areas where the birds are located,
a boat race has also been organised on both lakes. Tourists
could also use binoculars and enlist the help of a guide
at the tourist office at Sullupet, which has small hotels,
Babu Rao said.
He said an eco-friendly resort and a family entertainment
resort at Pulicat would soon come up, at a cost of Rs one
crore each, to augment the facilities.
Chalapathi Rao said one would also see Grey Herons, Painted
Storks, spoonbill sea gulls and sand pipers, besides flamingoes,
at Pulicat lake.
At Nelapattu lake, one can also spot migratory birds like
Openbilled Storks, White Ibises, and Night Herons, he said.
Pulicat Lake is the second largest brackish water lagoon
in India, spread over a 600 sq km area.
bird returning to Louisiana license plates
New pelican design to be standard for cars
By The Associated Press, 1/23/05
Louisiana's state bird, which disappeared from state license
plates about the time pesticides wiped it out in the wild,
will soon be back. The brown pelican left the plates
in 1963, when Louisiana went from six digits to seven, eliminating
its central space. One year earlier, the last wild brown
pelican nest had been found in Louisiana.
The pesticides DDT, which weakened eggshells so they broke
before they could hatch, and endrin, which also caused enormous
fish kills in state waters, were blamed.
The state began bringing fledgling pelicans in from
Florida in 1968. For the past six years, state biologists
have counted 13,000 to 16,000 nests and 20,000 to 34,000
fledglings each spring.
Louisiana changed license plates from one letter and six
numbers to three letters and three numbers in 1993.
The Legislature voted last year to bring back the pelican
once 120,000 plates stamped with the Louisiana Purchase
bicentennial logo ran out. That will happen in the next
month or two, Office of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Michelle
Rayburn said Friday.
The new plates feature what looks like a grayish photograph
of a pelican on a flat-topped piling in the center. Behind
it, orange-brown colors lighten through yellows as they
rise from the bottom, fading to white at a central "horizon".
"It looks like a sunset," Rayburn said.
The new design will be the standard plate for cars, minivans
and sport utility vehicles.
Takes DIA Flight South For Winter
Larimer Humane Society Sends Big Bird To Texas
The plight of a pelican rescued in Larimer County takes a
new turn. The bird is flying south for the winter but not
by his own wing power.
The journey for the American white pelican began two months
ago when the big bird was rescued from a lake in Windsor,
partially frozen and unable to fly south.
"I don't know if he clipped a barbed wire fence or was
attacked. There were no other wounds, it's really kind of
strange," said Janice Crick, with the Larimer County
The pelican was boarded on a plane Wednesday, heading to a
wildlife center in Texas. He'll be there in part for rehabilitation,
but it's also because he's becoming very expensive for the
Larimer Humane Society to keep around.
"He's about $100 a week to feed -- it's a lot
of fish, about four or five pounds a day," said
Bob Nightwalker, with the Larimer Humane Society.
The flight from Denver International Airport to San Antonio
will take about four or five hours, and you never know if
this pelican will be back next year.
on Sat, Jan. 15, 2005
Petition calls for a restriction on bird hunting
in White Pelican habitat
A local business owner is seeking support to further limit
hunting in the estuary to three days a week during the season,
instead of the seven that are currently allowed
Bay woman who runs a kayak rental business is rallying support
for limiting bird hunting in the estuary.
Hunters come from all over San Luis Obispo County and elsewhere
to shoot brant geese and other waterfowl for sport and food
at the Morro Bay National Estuary -- a place where fresh
water and salt water mix, creating a unique habitat for
thousands of birds....
"I'm trying to be realistic and present an option that
has a chance of being ratified and will take us in a positive
direction toward limiting hunting on the estuary,"
She argues that two weekdays plus Sundays should be plenty
of time for hunting.
She also wants to protect birds on the grass islands, small
knots of land on the border between the Morro Bay city limits
and the hunting area.
Currently, some parts of those islands are in the hunting
area, Davis said.
White pelicans and a myriad of other birds
feed on the eelgrass there, she said, and it's one of the
most popular places for visitors to see. ...
asked the Morro Bay City Council on Monday for a letter
supporting her changes, but it declined.
The city has declared itself a bird sanctuary, but the hunting
at issue occurs outside city limits.
Davis is seeking support for her cause from Los Osos Community
Services District board, as well as the Sierra Club, the
Morro Bay National Estuary Program and the county Board
Davis hopes to have a packet of petitions and letters of
support ready for the state Fish and Game Commission meeting
Hunting regulations for the next season are scheduled to
be set at the commission's meeting in August, which is scheduled
to be in Morro Bay.
Davis said petitions will be available soon at 2
Dogs Coffee Co., Blue Skye Cafe, Bayside Cafe, Coalesce
Bookstore, Sunshine Health Foods, the Rock Kayak shop, Kayak
Horizons or the State Park Marina -- all in Morro Bay.
'fingerprints' can lead chemists to sources of oil spills
By Carrie Peyton Dahlberg -- Sacramento Bee Staff Writer
Published 2:15 am PST Monday, January 31, 2005
Dark as coffee grounds, opaque as ink, oil gives up its secrets
like a startled child - where it's come from, what it's been
through and who it's been mixed up with.
It is a substance that can be coaxed into revealing almost
everything about its past.
Sometimes, it will answer the most telling question of all
for investigators hunting for the source of a baffling oil
spill: Where is your twin?
That's the question three chemists at the state's Petroleum
Chemistry Laboratory in Rancho Cordova are putting, over and
over, to oil cleaned from bird feathers, scraped off buoys
and tracked along riverbanks in Ventura County.
That spill, from some still-unknown source, slid into the
Santa Clara River and then tumbled on to the sea earlier this
month, killing 1,225 birds counted by rescuers and perhaps
10 times more that died unseen.
Before the worst dissipated, the spill fatally oiled more
birds than any slick along California shores since 1986, according
to officials with the UC Davis-led bird rescue effort. The
state Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Coast Guard
both are seeking the spill's source.
Knowing where the oil came from can speed and improve cleanup
efforts. Equally important, it can pinpoint who should get
Mysterious Oil Patches Take Big
Toll on Seabirds
Up to 5,000 avians have been harmed, the most in the state
since a spill off the coast in 1990.
By Amanda Covarrubias and Kenneth R. Weiss
Times Staff Writers
January 21, 2005
A mysterious weeklong oil leak off Southern California has
damaged more wildlife than any spill in state coastal waters
since 1990, officials said Thursday as they struggled to
find its source.
Dead or oiled seabirds are now turning up on beaches from
Santa Barbara to Huntington Beach, with estimates that as
many as 5,000 birds may have been coated with the black
goo. So far, nearly 1,400 birds have been retrieved since
the first grebes washed ashore in Ventura County a week
What makes the situation so perplexing is that wildlife
officials are overrun by birds, but have not found a major
telltale slick on the water or tar balls washing ashore.
"It's a tough nut to crack," said Dana Michaels,
a spokeswoman for the California Department of Fish and
Game. "It's not like there's a big slick someplace
and we can say, 'That's the responsible party.' This is
a real mystery."
Not knowing where the leak is coming from makes it impossible
for experts to determine how much oil is out there and for
people treating the injured wildlife to know whether the
worst is over.
complicating matters, she said, is that the oil from birds
has degraded from the weather, making it more difficult
to analyze. So far chemists have been unable to determine
if oil on the birds' feathers is crude or refined.
The closest match is consistent with a natural seepage from
a spot called Coal Oil Point on the UC Santa Barbara campus
at Isla Vista, she said.
Officials said the spill has damaged more wildlife than
any other spill in California coastal waters in 15 years,
when 3,400 birds died after the 1990 American Trader spill
off the Orange County coast.
Mazet said the toll of this leak could exceed the American
Trader spill and be the worst in California involving marine
life since 1986, when a barge sloshed oil into San Francisco
Bay, killing 10,500 seabirds.
SeaWorld Treating Birds Caught
In Mystery Oil Spill
Endangered Species Found Oiled Off Los Angeles County Coast
UPDATED: 6:19 pm PST January 20, 2005
SAN DIEGO -- Investigators are trying to find the cause
of an oil spill that coated hundreds of birds with crude
oil and may threaten other sea life, 10News reported.Oil-slicked
pelicans have been rushed to SeaWorld for treatment while
teams of experts assess the damage.
Animal rescue groups are searching out and corralling birds
coated with crude oil from what's now being dubbed the "Ventura
One official told 10News the birds lose their ability to
keep themselves warm when they're oiled.
Smaller birds have been scooped off affected beaches and
treated, while larger, endangered pelicans are now arriving
at SeaWorld for emergency care.
Lauren Dubois, from SeaWorld, said, "When they have
oil on their feathers they preen and don't take time to
eat or drink, so they become emaciated."
SeaWorld staff members have been feeding the weakened birds
fluids and juicy smelt for those ready for solid food.
"Once clean we dry them off, we leave them outside
to get warmed up, fed and make sure they're stable so they
can be released in the next few weeks," Dubois said.
The state is still trying to find the source of the oil
spill. Once it finds the responsible party, the state will
be sending a bill for cleanup and animal rescue efforts.
SeaWorld is one of 25 organizations statewide that participate
in the Oiled Wildlife Care Network. For a slideshow: http://www.10news.com/news/4113994/detail.html
(press release) - January 20, 2005
UC Davis Experts Say Oil Spill
Is World's Worst for Birds Since 2002
UC Davis wildlife experts leading the rescue of oiled seabirds
along the Southern California coast say this oil spill has
been the worst worldwide for wildlife in more than two years,
harming more birds than any spill since the 2002 wreck of
the tanker Prestige off Spain's coast.
Since Wednesday, Jan. 12, UC Davis veterinarians, staff
members and volunteers have picked up nearly 1,400 oiled
birds on the coast between Santa Barbara and Huntington
Beach. Of those birds, 612 were dead or so sick they were
humanely killed. Oiled birds are continuing to arrive daily
at the UC Davis-run rescue center in San Pedro.
Jonna Mazet, a UC Davis veterinarian and international authority
on the rescue and treatment of oiled wildlife, said today
that studies of previous spills and their effects have concluded
that for every oiled seabird that is found washed ashore,
there are about 10 to 100 birds that died at sea.
of the injured birds being collected in the California spill
are western grebes, which are large, striking, black-and-white
birds with long, thin, yellow bills that the birds use to
catch small fish in near shore waters. At this time of year,
western grebes are often seen swimming along the Pacific
Coast, from southeast Alaska to central Mexico.
Western grebes are listed as a California "species
of special concern" because of population declines
at some breeding sites.
Other oil-soaked seabirds that have been treated include
Clark's grebes, eared grebes, loons, brown pelicans, and
a Brandt's cormorant and a surf scoter.
January 15, 2005
Bird-rescue facility gets its 1st major test
Almost 400 oil-soaked grebes are brought to San Pedro for
treatment. Volunteer help is needed.
By Lee Peterson
January Bill gently slides a flexible tube down the throat
of a western grebe, and feeds the oily, red-eyed seabird
60 cc of warm Pedialyte.
With nearly 400 oil-tainted grebes jammed into the International
Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro by Friday afternoon,
this "tubing" procedure is something that Bill
and the other workers will be doing about 3,200 times a
day, to make sure each animal is fed eight times each 24
Oil-soaked birds from a mysterious spill to the north started
arriving Thursday, kicking off what will be the first major
emergency bird-care operation for the facility at Fort MacArthur,
the first real test of its capabilities to deal with the
mass wildlife casualties of a major oil spill.
Officials put out a plea for volunteers, even those
people who may not have experience in handling wild birds.
The spill of unknown origin was discovered only this week
with the discovery of oiled birds on beaches from Santa
Barbara to Santa Monica. Authorities don't know if it's
a happenstance of the recent rainstorm and mudslide in Ventura
County or if it came about from some other accident.
But the spill is exactly the reason the rescue center in
San Pedro, opened in 2001 by the Oiled Wildlife Care Network,
"We specifically designed this place for oil spills.
What we are finding out now is how good of an architect
we were," said Michael Ziccardi, director of the network,
which is part of the Wildlife Health Center at the University
of California, Davis.
Nearly all of the oiled birds are grebes, and most of them
are not injured other than by the oil.
Ziccardi said the first order of business is to
warm and feed the birds. After they are at the center for
48 hours, volunteers will start the painstaking cleaning.
It will take two volunteers about 35 minutes to clean the
oil off one bird, and another 35 minutes to rinse off the
soap, Ziccardi said.
Every speck of oil has to be removed.
As aquatic birds, the grebes rely on their feathers to hold
a layer of air around their bodies for warmth. It doesn't
take much oil to allow the chilly ocean to seep in, which
can lead to hypothermia and death. Before these birds get
to the center's rehab pools, they must be clean.
"Even a drop of oil, once we get them in the pools,
the water can wick into the skin and get them cold,"
Given the good shape of the first wave of birds, Ziccardi
said that the operation has been fairly successful in getting
the birds out of the environment quickly and into the hands
of rescue workers.
Source of Oil Spill Remains a
By Steve Chawkins, LA Times Staff Writer
January 15, 2005
Authorities were no closer Friday to finding the source
of the oil that has coated hundreds of seabirds off Southern
More than 350 Western grebes and pelicans have been taken
to a facility in San Pedro where veterinarians cleaned their
feathers of dark, heavy goo. At least eight of the birds
died, said Rob Hughes, a spokesman for the state Department
of Fish and Game.
Meanwhile, many more affected birds have been sighted in
"There's a source out there and we just can't
seem to find it," Hughes said.
State officials initially said a mudslide in Ventura County's
Icebox Canyon ruptured a Vintage Oil pipeline. However,
they said Friday it was unclear whether the pipeline south
of La Conchita had ruptured.
Officials also didn't know if the mudslide at La Conchita
that killed 10 people dumped oil into the nearby ocean.
A mile-long oil sheen observed Thursday at Platform
Holly off Goleta in Santa Barbara County raised alarms among
environmental activists, but state officials said the location
was too far north to account for the oiled birds, most of
which have been spotted off beaches from Ventura to Santa
The sheen apparently rose to the surface from the underwater
oil seeps that are common in the area, said Bill Morrison,
a spokesman for the State Lands Commission. It may have
continued to grow because seas in the area had been unusually
calm for a couple of days.
Sea birds are turning up covered with oil
By Jessica Keating, jkeating@VenturaCountyStar.com
January 14, 2005
Heavy rains that battered California earlier this week may
be responsible for hundreds of oil-covered birds discovered
along the coastline between Santa Barbara and Venice, state
officials said Thursday.
Wildlife rescue teams fished more than 100 birds, mostly
western grebes, from the sea off the coast of Ventura County,
where the largest concentration of birds has been spotted.
Note: the Ventura Star is a subscription/free online registration
Victims of Mystery Oil Spill
The source might be a pipeline break or slide at La Conchita.
Many birds are drifting ashore.
By Steve Chawkins, LA Times Staff Writer
January 14, 2005
More than 500 seabirds off the Southern California coast
have been coated with oil from what authorities described
Thursday as a "mystery spill."
Many of the birds have drifted onto beaches between Santa
Barbara and Venice, said Dana Michaels, a spokeswoman for
the California Department of Fish and Game's pollution division.
None have been found dead.
Biologists have not yet pinpointed the source of
the oil that mired the birds, most of them Western grebes
and pelicans. Observers in airplanes have scanned
the ocean for clues, and samples of oil from the birds'
feathers are being shipped to laboratories for analysis.
"We're not ruling anything out at this point,"
The massive La Conchita mudslide may have contributed to
a mile-long oily sheen spotted offshore afterward, she said.
In addition, a nearby mudslide at Icebox Canyon broke a
transmission line used by Vintage Oil, sending about 25
barrels of oil — or 1,050 gallons — downstream
in a torrent of mud and debris.
The company shut down the pipeline as soon as its equipment
detected a drop in pressure, Michaels said.
Other sources might include cars and trucks swept into flooding
"There's probably a real goulash of different kinds
of oils out there," Michaels said.
John Romero, a spokesman for the federal Minerals Management
Service, said no leaks were reported from any of the offshore
oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel.
Volunteers fanned out Thursday over beaches, picking up
injured birds and taking them to the Oiled Bird Care and
Education Center in San Pedro. ( Los Angeles Oiled Bird
Care and Education Center, 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro)
Officials warned the public not to approach the oiled birds,
pointing out that grebes have particularly sharp beaks.
They advised people who came across the birds to
call (562) 342-7222
and the pelicans need help
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Environment-friendly Turkish liraGül Nana and her three
pelicans were stuck in their home because of the heavy snow
ANKARA - Turkish Daily News K¦zhan¦m Sar¦çay¦r,
living in the Akçakale village of Ardahan's Ç¦ld¦r
district and known as Gül Nana among the villagers,
got stuck in her home with her three pelicans because of
The cute, winged family members are named after
Gül Nana's three grandchildren: Kubilay, Ulas¸
and Arzu. Gül Nana (70), who has managed a fish restaurant
on her father's land in Akçakale since retiring
from Istanbul University Medical Faculty Hospital, said
she bought three fish nets for fishing and feeding her children.
Fish nets disappeared
Because of the heavy snow, we all got stuck
at home. I decided to climb out the window to
clean the snow and open the door for my children, Gül
Nana said. I had to feed my pelicans, but when I went to
the lakeside I noticed that my fish nets were gone. I think
they either fell in the lake or somebody stole them.
I didn't know what to do. My kids eat one kilo of fish every
day, she said. Gül Nana has been raising the three
pelicans for eight years. Although pelicans are migrant
birds, they have continued to stay with Gül Nana.
oil spill update
Broken Pemex oil pipeline soaks birds and animals along
the Gulf of Mexico
Updated: Jan. 12, 2005 11:03 AM PST
A stubborn oil spill along the coast near Veracruz, Mexico
has affected hundreds of birds and animals. So far 149 birds
have been captured by joint IBRRC/IFAW Emergency Response
(ER) Team. The spill occurred on December 22, 2004.
As the bird aviaries are being constructed on the waters
edge near the Coatzacoalcos River, dozens of Pelicans and
other seabirds fly overhead or sit around on the tops of
the nearby buildings watching the activities going on below.
Most of them appear to be oiled.
“We have about 100 birds in-house and another 400
on-house!” said Jay Holcomb co-director of the ER
Team, trying to add some humor to a very trying experience.
According to Paul Kelway of the ER Team, the group has been
capturing large numbers of pelicans on a daily basis simply
by baiting them in. Most are in good condition and all are
eating well so the turnaround is likely to be quite quick.
of 24 birds were washed yesterday and are now in one of
the outdoor aviaries. Washing continues today. There is
also a large team of workers hired by Pemex constructing
more aviaries, which should mean that the team will be able
to cope as the numbers increase.
Almost 150 live animals have now been admitted. Of these
8 have been released and 47 washed. The list of species
to date includes Pelicans, Laughing Gulls, herons, snakes
and box turtles as well as a hawk, kingfisher, iguana and
a water turtle. The numbers are likely to rise further over
the coming days.
All five new team members are now on site so the ER Team
is now 13 people strong. There has also been great support
from the University of Veracruz and a number of students
will be volunteering for the next 2 weeks.
visit the IBRRC site for pictures of the pelicans, rehabbers
and Veracruz area map. (And see
below for more background information.)
Pelican perking up during
stay at Rhode Island's Winnapaug Pond
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
By KATIE MULVANEY, Journal Staff Writer
WESTERLY -- The pelican visiting the shores of Winnapaug
Pond has pepped up considerably over the past week. Observers
have seen it swim, fish and fly in the last few days --
a vast change from its lethargic appearance a week ago.
"I swear to God it looks like a small airplane,"
said Jeffrey Gardner, who raises oysters and clams in the
pond. At 9 feet across, the wingspan of the American white
pelican is larger than that of a bald eagle.
Yesterday the pelican preened its feathers and stood watch
on the same spit of land it has occupied in a protected
cove for almost two weeks. Occasionally, it stretched its
massive yellow bill.
A week ago, it scarcely moved, sitting
for hours with its bill tucked under its wing.
"We were very happy to see it eat," said Gardner,
owner of Watch Hill Oysters. "It's been swimming around
Wildlife officials believe the pelican was blown
off course by a storm during its migration south and has
picked the protected cove as a good place to rest and refuel.
It is thought to be the same bird spotted in mid-December
near Patience Island in Narragansett Bay.
American white pelicans breed as far north as central Canada
during the summer. In the winters, they migrate south to
the Gulf Coast and are rarely seen north of Florida.
Male and female pelicans have similar plumage, so naturalists
can't tell the sex of Winnapaug Pond's visitor. Since its
appearance, the bird has likely dined on bait fish that
inhabit the brackish waters. It has been joined in Winnapaug
Pond by a seal -- the first Gardner has seen there in his
27 years on Shore Road.
"The bird is doing well," said Mike Tucker, a
refuge manager with the Audubon Society of Rhode Island.
"It seems to be doing better." And more warm weather
appears in store for the fair-weather pelican. Temperatures
are expected to climb into the 60s by Thursday.
Katie Mulvaney can be reached by e-mail at kmulvaneXXXXprojo.com
or by phone at 277-7417.
wash away salt pans full of history — migratory birds
and deer give warning
Vedaranyam, India. Jan. 9: The salt workers here
saw the rare birds taking flight about “half-an-hour
before” the first tsunami struck but they did not
know enough to save the historic salt pans.
“The tsunami came so stealthily. None of us knew this
phenomenon,” said A. Vedaratnam, president of the
Vedaranyam Salt Manufacturers and Merchants Association.
“But somehow the hundreds of spotted deer
and black bucks in the wildlife sanctuary at Point Calimere
and thousands of migratory birds that come every October-March
seemed to know what was coming. They had all left for safer
havens shortly before the tsunami struck,” he said.
From Vedaranyam to Point Calimere, the southernmost tip
of Tamil Nadu’s worst-hit Nagapattinam district, 2,500
marshy acres close to the sea are worked for salt-making
Nearly 2,000 deer, he said, fled to safety westwards from
the “huge frothy waves that went up to 1,500 metres”
because “otherwise we would have found a number of
dead deer there after the attack”.
A worker at a salt factory near the bird sanctuary had a
similar tale to tell. He said that some 30 minutes before
the tsunamis crashed on the shore, “I saw an army
of cows moving rapidly from the shore towards the hinterland.
I could not guess why”.
“Then, flocks of a variety of birds in the
lake, over 2,000 of them, suddenly began to take off skywards
in groups, the likes of which we have never seen before.
“Perhaps they had a warning system to go by.
We have not seen birds in any large number at Point Calimere
this year,” he added.
Flamingos are the most important among the varieties of
winged visitors to Point Calimere, a picturesque sanctuary
and the point where the Bay of Bengal curves westwards into
the Palk Strait. They come from far-off places like Iran
and the Caspian Sea as also the Rann of Kutch every year.
Others that flock to the sanctuary are pelicans,
white ibis, grey heron, open bill stork, painted stork and
Copyright © 2002 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.
Center releases three rehabilitated brown pelicans
Friday, January 07, 2005
By VIRGINIA LANGUMOCEAN SPRINGS -- Three brown pelicans
were released on Thursday by the Wildlife Care and Rescue
Center. They were the first birds to benefit from
a 60 foot-long cage recently constructed by Mississippi
Power for the Rescue Center in Woolmarket.
are placed in the cage to build up their flight muscles
before being released in the wild, said Center Director
Sharpe and 18 other volunteers rehabilitate injured wildlife
from all across South Mississippi. Most animals come from
Jackson and Harrison counties. Two of the pelicans released
Thursday came from Jackson County, one not far from the
beach in Ocean Springs where it flew off. Sharpe found the
pelicans on U.S. 90 just east of Miss. 57. The two birds
were starving. Sharpe said she sees many pelicans
after a cold snap. "A lot of young birds have a problem
adjusting to a dramatic temperature change," she said.
"They have a lot of trouble finding food."
Volunteers de-worm the birds, feed them, and then set them
free. The process generally takes two weeks.
The center has taken in seven pelicans in the past month.
The annual average is 20.
The third pelican, which was found on top of a car outside
the Cinemark Cinema in Gulfport with a fishing hook embedded
in its wing, took about a month to heal.
This bird was a little more reluctant than the other two
to fly off on Thursday.
"I always watch them take flight before I leave to
make sure they can do it," Sharpe said.
People who come across injured or abandoned wildlife are
urged to contact the Wildlife Care and Rescue Center immediately
at (228) 392-7591.
Reporter Virginia Langum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (228) 875-8144. http://www.gulflive.com/news/mississippipress/index.ssf?/base/news/1105096501254025.xml
regulators say wildlife weathered oil spill on Gulf coast
By: MORGAN LEE - Associated Press; Thursday, January 6
MEXICO CITY -- Environmental prosecutors on Wednesday said
almost no wildlife was killed in a recent crude-oil spill
on a river feeding the Gulf of Mexico, while environmental
activists accused Mexico's state oil company of concealing
the extent of damages.
The oil spilled from a ruptured pipeline into the Coatzacoalcos
River on Dec. 22 following an explosion at a pumping station
near Santiago Tuxtla, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) east-southeast
of Mexico City. The blast caused a burst of high pressure
that ruptured the oil line 70 miles (110 kilometers) away
in Nanchital, just south of the Gulf port city of Coatzacoalcos.
Environmental law-enforcement officials have surveyed the
area but are waiting for a report later this month on the
extent of the damages from a local university contracted
by Mexican state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex.
A separate report on the cause of the spill is due next
"To date, we have not detected a single dead
specimen," said Adrian Vazquez, deputy federal prosecutor
for natural resources. "The only thing they've reported
to us from the people working in the field is a seagull
and a pair of water snakes that were lost. But, yes, the
impact in terms of mortality has been practically zero."
The spill affected a river and coastline besieged for decades
by industrial pollution from nearby oil and petrochemical
operations. Regulators estimate that 95 percent of the 5,000
barrels spilled had been recuperated as of Tuesday, but
that oil-soaked earth and vegetation remained.
Damages to mangrove swamps near the spill site was limited,
Meanwhile, the environmental group Greenpeace Mexico on
Wednesday reported more extensive damage to flora and fauna
and accused Pemex of downplaying the severity of the spill.
Marisa Jacott of Greenpeace said she saw three kinds of
birds dead during a five-day tour of the spill area, and
that rocks on the Coatzacoalcos River were being whitewashed
with a cleaning agent.
"This is not remediating," she said.
Officials from Mexico's environmental prosecutor's office
insisted that no detergents or chemical agents were being
used in the cleanup. Greenpeace officials said the damage
assessment should be carried out by experts outside Veracruz,
the Gulf-coast state dominated by the government-controlled
oil industry, and they questioning the motives for Pemex's
hiring of local fishermen to assist in the initial cleanup.
"This is a way also to control the fishermen,"
Jacott said. "They haven't been able to raise a hand
against Pemex because it's been paying them."
Regulators have opened a criminal investigation against
Pemex and still could fine it as much as US$200,000 (euro148,000)
for the spill. Greenpeace Mexico director Alejandro Calvillo
pointed out that a fine against a government-owned oil concern
will be of little consolation to Mexicans. "We are
going to pay for all of this supposed remediation,"
he said. "We are paying millions of pesos that are
just being used to hide the problem."
Two inspectors and a local delegate of the environmental
prosecutor's office are supervising the massive cleanup
of oil that spread along 40 kilometers (25 miles) of the
Gulf coast. The cleanup effort involved about 1,500 people
during the initial stages.
Regulators said wildlife recuperation efforts are
focused on a colony of about 400 pelicans in the area. Shelters
are inspecting and cleaning pelicans that still may be affected
by surface oil as they swim or dip into the water to scoop
Environmental Attorney General Jose Luis Luege reiterated
long-standing concerns that environmental regulators lack
the funding to properly inspect Pemex facilities and that
the oil company needs to install automated shut-off valves
to respond faster to emergencies.
Editions of the North County Times Serving San Diego and
investigate bird deaths
By TJ Aulds, Published January 5, 2005
GALVESTON — Thirteen more pelicans were found
along the beach on the Island’s West End late Monday.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officers have discovered
24 dead birds along the beaches since Monday.
“I am going to be contacting our resource protection
(division) to advise them to monitor the area,” said
Capt. Eddie Tanuz, who heads the department’s Galveston
County office. “Hopefully this will be an isolated
The department’s resource protection division investigates
instances where natural resources are threatened or have
been damaged. Most cases involved chemical spills or other
man-made situations that lead to bird or fish kills, or
damage to natural habitats, Tanuz said.
“When we have a bird kill like this, they will get
involved because they have more research equipment to look
into it,” he said.
But, if the birds found Monday are any indication, investigators
won’t have much to work with. Most experienced high
levels of decay.
“They really need to be fresh or in distress for a
good test,” said Tanuz.
The 13 birds found Monday evening were spread over the beach
area between 8 Mile Road and Jamaica Beach, said Tanuz.
Eleven birds, including six terns, found Monday morning
were found in similar parts of the beach, but stretched
to San Luis Pass.
Tanuz suspects the bird kill can be directly linked to last
week’s cold snap that brought several inches of snow
to the region. The cold weather and indications that the
birds were young indicate that the kill is not likely to
be because of a man-made incident.
“I still believe it’s an isolated incident,
but we will be monitoring closely to be very sure,”
birds found dead
By TJ AuldsPublished January 4, 2005
GALVESTON — Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officers
discovered at least 11 pelicans and terns along the beaches
of Galveston’s West End on Monday, and said the snow
that was a welcomed sight Christmas weekend may be to blame.
“These birds, when it gets cold like the cold we had
at Christmas, tend to gather and huddle, because the cold
affects them pretty good,” said Capt. Eddie Tanuz,
who heads the department’s Galveston County office.
“The weather gets them, and they die and wash up.
It’s not that uncommon.”
Tanuz said game wardens found five pelicans and six terns
along the beaches between 8 Mile Road and the San Luis Pass
on Monday. Reports came into his office of more birds late
in the day and crews were to go back out and check the area
“There is nothing at this time to give us an indication
that this was a bird kill because of pesticides,”
Said Tanuz. “None of the birds found had signs of
any type of weapon or bullet damage.”
His assessment? The cold weather over the holiday weekend
was the most likely culprit based on the decay of the birds’
“They were spread out throughout the whole beach and
in different stages of decay,” said Tanuz. “That
leads us to believe that this was more weather related than
“We will still be monitoring the situation to see
if that changes.”
Reports on the dead birds came in from Galveston police,
the Galveston County Health District and animal rehabilitator
Trudy Belz. Belz, a well-known birder who lives in Texas
City, received several reports about dead birds.
She said such reports were not unusual this time of the
year, but the larger numbers also made her think the weather
had a lot to do with their discovery.
“They are hatched in Louisiana and come here
for the winter,” said Belz. “This wasn’t
the weather they expected.” Belz said that while the
weather may have played a role in their demise, it is likely
many had a run in with anglers.“ (The birds) see those
silver lures and go after the fish, and next thing you know,
it’s hooked,” she said. Belz said most anglers
would just cut their line and let the bird go. “It’s
not the fisherman’s fault. They don’t want to
pull that bird into the boat. (The birds) just fly off and
look beautiful, but that’s not the case.
“A hooked bird is a dead bird.”
Belz predicted that more birds would be found in larger
numbers within two weeks. Many will have bands on their
legs for researchers following migration patterns and life
“That’s the way it works most of the time,”
she said. “We see a few, then the larger numbers come
Texas' Oldest Newspaper; http://galvestondailynews.com;
Copyright © 2005 The Galveston County Daily News
resting up at Winnapaug Pond
As long as conditions don't become too severe, the
wayward visitor is expected to fare well.
10:00 AM EST on Tuesday, January 4, 2005 by KATIE MULVANEY,
Providence Journal Staff Writer
WESTERLY -- Ethan Bisbee didn't believe it when he heard
that a pelican had hunkered down in Winnapaug Pond -- far,
far from its tropical winter retreat. But sure enough, an
American white pelican has rested, bill tucked under its
wing, in a cove off Shore Road since Wednesday.
Bisbee and his wife, Susan, now keep a telescope trained
on the striking white bird, which spends most of its time
huddled on a tiny spit of land that juts into the water.
"I haven't seen it move; I haven't seen it fly,"
Bisbee said yesterday on the porch of his Shore Road home,
just as the bird lifted its head and stretched its large
Wildlife officials believe the pelican was blown off course
by a storm during migration and has picked the coastal pond
as a good place to rest and refuel.
Thought to be the same bird photographed Dec. 19 near Patience
Island,in Narragansett Bay, the pelican occasionally leaves
its spot, most likely to dine on bait fish near shore. It
is sometimes joined by great blue herons.
"Winnapaug Pond's a great spot," said Mike Tucker,
a refuge manager with the Audubon Society of Rhode Island.
Pelicans "eat when they have to eat and save energy
Weighing about 16 pounds and with wings spanning 9 feet,
American white pelicans breed as far north as central Canada
in the summer. During the winter, they migrate south to
the Gulf Coast and are rarely seen north of Florida on the
East Coast. "It's been quite the buzz among birders,"
American white pelicans, pelecanus erythrorhynchos,
have been sighted nine times in Rhode Island since 1900,
Tucker said. The last sighting came in September 1996 near
Old Harbor on Block Island. In 1994, a pair frequented the
docks in Galilee for much of what was a bitter winter. A
brown pelican, commonly seen dramatically diving for fish
in Florida, was spotted five years ago on the breakwater
on Block Island.
Conservationists remained optimistic yesterday about the
latest pelican's chances.
"It certainly can survive as long as the conditions
don't get too extreme and it can find food," Tucker
Katie Mulvaney can be reached at kmulvane [at] projo.com
Digital Extra: Web sites that call to birders: Online at:
For two fine white pelican photos: http://www.projo.com/news/content/projo_20050104_pelican4.92e5a.html
Update, Saturday January 1, 2005
The pelican brief
By TK Sawyer, Tribune
The winter visitors who recently took up residence in Ocotillo
probably wouldn’t take too much offense to being called
"snowbirds." For one, they visit Arizona to escape
winter’s harsher climates. And, probably most importantly
. . . well, they’re birds.
Recently, avian biologists have noticed an increase
in white pelicans wintering in Arizona, especially along
the Salt and Gila rivers. Chandler’s Diana
Braaten has also noticed. She said she recently counted
33 of the birds lounging around the pond at the Ocotillo
"Why would a flock of pelicans be hanging out in a
desert pond at Queen Creek and Price?" she asked.
Avian biologist Troy Corman said it’s not unusual
for white pelicans to migrate through Arizona from Idaho,
Montana and Utah in the late summer months. But why more
and more are wintering here, that’s an unanswered
Biologists do know "they tend to go to areas that aren’t
all that busy and will stay if they can find a big body
of water," Corman said. These shy birds aren’t
approachable, unless injured. Shy doesn’t mean antisocial,
however. If you see one, you tend to see several, Corman
said. "They are social birds and will forage together,"
Corman said. "They swim together and work together
to corral fish."
For now, biologists aren’t concerned with the increased
winter population of white pelicans coming to the Valley.
They are keeping an eye out, however, on the numbers of
their cousins, the endangered brown pelican. Last
summer, a large number of brown pelicans were spotted trying
to land on glaring asphalt the birds were mistaking for
water. The birds are native to Mexico’s Sea of Cortez
and are usually not spotted this far north.
"We aren’t sure if they’ll come back this
year, or why they were even here last summer," Corman
said, adding biologists suspect the birds may have had a
particularly good breeding season and the increased population
forced the birds to look elsewhere for food.
conditions don't stop avid N. County bird watchers
By Terry Rodgers
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
December 31, 2004
What could possibly compel otherwise normal people to arise
at dawn on a blustery winter morning to scan the skies for
signs of life from the Pacific shoreline to the prickly
Answer: An enduring American holiday tradition known as
the Audubon Christmas Bird Count.
Phil Pryde, a retired geography professor, has participated
in nearly 20 Christmas bird counts here.
"It's a form of recreation but there's a serious side
to it, too," he said. "Compiling a long-term trend
line, that's really the most important value of it."
For instance, white pelicans were a rarity along
the San Diego County coastline. But in the past few years,
more and more have shown up on the Christmas bird count.
The partial collapse of the fishery at the Salton Sea in
Imperial County, where the pelicans have been more numerous,
could be forcing the birds to forage for food in a wider
area, Pryde said.
Terry Rodgers: (619) 542-4566; email@example.com
way from normal winter home sightings:
31 reports from Mary Powell-McConnell; Arizona-Sonora
Desert Museum, curator, Mammalogy and Ornithology:
In Sierra County: New Mexico, on January 15 an immature
BROWN PELICAN was still
present at Elephant Butte
Lake. It was at the Marina del Sur on tires beyond the
boat hanger and seen also on January 21. It can fly and
seems to move around the lake, so keep looking.
In Arizona, Phoenix area
There's been a group of up to almost 100 White Pelicans
in the area for a couple of weeks.. They've been
coming and going from artificial lakes in Chandler just
SE of Dobson and Queen Creek.
On Jan 31, 2005, On Saturday, January 29: A group
of seven White Pelicans was seen flying over the
community of Sun Lakes in extreme southern Phoenix. They
appeared to settle down within the gated community. On Sunday
we saw three White Pelicans flying over the 202 (Red Mountain
Freeway) at Country Club Rd. in Mesa. We have spent the
last four winters in the Phoenix area and these are the
first White Pelicans we have seen in Maricopa County.
Chauncey & Sarah Wood
January 7, 2005
Puget Sound: A pair of brown pelicans that have been flying,
perching or diving for fish since June in Budd Inlet, near
Olympia, Wash., recently got front-page coverage in "The
Olympian" newspaper and have prompted a number of calls
to Seattle TV stations. Listed as an endangered species
by the federal government in 1970, brown pelicans have been
making a comeback in recent years and have been seen in
increasing numbers on the Oregon and Washington coasts,
said Kelly McAllister, a Washington Department of Fish and
Wildlife biologist. But the birds -- unmistakable with their
long bills, expandable pouches and six-foot wingspans --
rarely are seen in Puget Sound, he said. "I've been
doing this for a long time, and I've never seen or heard
of one," said McAllister, adding that another biologist
has seen a third pelican in the area. "This may be
part of the population's natural expansion up the Washington
Roy Gault's weekly wildlife viewing report is compiled from
telephone calls and emails to the Statesman Journal, from
Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife department reports,
and from various birders and Audubon Society reports. Gault
can be reached at (503) 399-6723 or rgault@StatesmanJournal.com
From Mary Powell-McConnell; Arizona-Sonora
Desert Museum, curator, Mammalogy and Ornithology:
Bird line reports a BROWN PELICAN flying near the intersection
of Ajo and Kinney Rd in west Tucson yesterday afternoon.
This is near the (not open to birding) CAP water treatment
plant and not so far as the Pelican soars from the Avra
Valley WWTP on Snyder Hill Rd, Tucson, Arizona.
3, 2005: Adult Brown Pelican seen at Crystal Gardens in
Avondale close to Sunset.(Avondale's about 15 miles west
of downtown Phoenix on 1-10.) Location: W.Thomas and 111th
Ave.s along Crystal Garden Blvd, second pond. It was reported
to be flying around and catching fish.
The first pelican of 2005 arrived for care at the Arizona-Sonora
Desert Museum. That's unusually early in the year, perhaps
because of the recent high winds. He/she travelled west
(by road!) on Tuesday, January 4, to Sea World in San Diego
for release back to the saltwater wilds.
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 12:08:52 -0700
A BROWN PELICAN was observed flying to the southeast, a
few miles south of
the I-8/I-10 interchange (Rob Magill fide Troy Corman).
would be between Phoenix and Tucson, South of Casa Grande,
a long way from fish....)
29 - Jan. 4 2004• Vol. 39, No. 13
San Francisco Bay Guardian
When we got to the lighthouse parking lot, it was relatively
clear and calm, the Farallon Islands visible in the distant
haze. On the beach below, cresting waves and sunlight produced
a startling effect: dazzling rainbows that seemed to ride
the waves as they broke. Near the lighthouse a handful of
sea lions swam around the rocks, where dozens of cormorants
and a few stray brown pelicans huddled in the wind.
Most of the pelicans had already high-tailed it down to
Baja for breeding, but a few stalwarts remained.
Katharine Mieszkowski, a senior writer for Salon.com, can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
here for RECENT 2006, pelican news
Click here for November-December,
2005 Pelican News (with links at the bottom of the page
to the rest of 2005.)
here for December, 2004, pelican news (with
links at the bottom of the page to the rest of 2004.)
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