[Tweeters] Re: starving pelicans

Mike Patterson celata at pacifier.com
Thu Jan 28 07:30:44 PST 2010

While investigating the Brown Booby report yesterday, I also chatted
with Sharnelle about her favorite subject, which happens to be BROWN
PELICANS. She handles most of the rehab pelican work for the Lower
Columbia from Grays Harbor to Lincoln City.

She tells me that many of the pelicans she receives are suffering from
traumatic injuries (broken bones, etc.) but appear to have normal fat
reserves. They do not appear to be starving.

Reports of starving pelicans MAY BE a result of sample bias. There are
1000's of pelicans wintering on the Oregon Coast this winter. Sharnelle
tells me that Debbie Jaques counted 300 coming to roost on East Sand
Island recently. BUT the only pelicans (probably fewer than 100) found
dead or dying on the beach get examined. Examining washed up corpses
tells us lots of stuff, but it is a biased sample that over represents
sick and injured individuals. We need to be cautious about over

Yes, there are way more pelicans over-wintering north of their usual
wintering range.

Yes, there are many pelicans being found dead or dying on the and this
is something to monitor and be concerned about.

But indications are that the majority of pelicans are finding food and
managing to get by.

BUT if you find a living sick or injured INDIVIDUAL on the beach. DO
NOT feed it. DO NOT try to catch it yourself. Call in the
professionals and let them do what they do.
Mike Patterson
Astoria, OR
Tales from the Junco Yard

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