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Brown Pelican Mystery - Why are they Starving on Oregon/Washington Coast?

 

Thousands of brown pelicans that summer on the Oregon Coast, and winter in sunny California are not going south these days...but why? Wildlife Center of the North rescued brown pelicans, fed the starving (once endangered) birds and have recently released them back to nature in good health. The center said the birds didn't used to stay on Oregon's beaches all year, but began doing so about three years ago. The pelicans were found washed up on the shore at a time when they should have been basking and feeding in California and Mexico during January and February 2010 (one of their favorite nesting spots in California is the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.)

In 2009 California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to remove the California brown pelican from the state endangered species list for the first time ever that a delisting has occurred. The California brown pelican is the first species to fully recover in the close to 40 year history of the organization. It is still illegal to kill or harm a brown pelican in California, but the brown pelican was removed or de-listed due to recommendations that examined an increased breeding population on
Anacapa Island's West Anacapa Island in the Channel Islands, expansion of breeding pairs on Santa Barbara Island, increased productivity and fledgling numbers, and the fact that nesting sites are under generally-protective National Park Service (NPS) ownership or management. In spite of known threats, the breeding population of brown pelicans in California has increased substantially in recent years.

Pelicans eat half their weight in food, with a grown adult consuming around three pounds of fish per day. So what's happening to make these birds lose weight and become ill? Is the fish supply diminished? Is the weather providing confusion? Are their flight patterns being disturbed by the toxic soup of microwave and other manmade emitting frequency signals? No one knows the definitive answer. If you want to help feed the birds, you can make donations...more information is available at coastwildlife.org.

 

 

 

 


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