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Archive for the 'Pelicans' Category

White pelicans a beautiful sight around the Bay

White pelican. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
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The American white pelican is one of my favorite birds. It’s amazing to watch them paddling along in the water, searching for fish. When they spot their prey, they open their enormous beaks, scoop up several gallons of water (and the fish!), let the water drain from their beaks (actually from the very elastic skin in the bottom of their beaks that stretches into a huge “balloon” to hold the water), then tip their heads back and swallow their wiggling meal. An unusual fishing technique, to say the least.

Years ago when I was curator of the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek, CA, our wildlife rescue center got in an injured (bruised wing kept it from flying) white pelican. It was such a character. Totally unafraid of humans, it would stand a few feet away from me and play catch with a paper ball. I’d toss it the ball, it would catch it in the very tip of its huge beak and then flip it back to me in one quick move. He definitely could have been drafted by the Giants (2nd base?) if they’d have been willing to pay him off in fish. We released him back into the wild a few weeks later after his wing had healed.

White pelicans, often spotted here and there, flying above or standing in the marshlands around the Bay and in the Delta,  are beautiful as they sail above you, their white bodies outlined against the blue sky. I especially enjoy Dave Harper’s dramatic photographs. Thanks, Dave. /Gary

White pelicans sailing above the Bay. Photo by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA
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Posted on Thursday, July 21st, 2011
Under: Pelicans, White Pelican | No Comments »

White pelicans fishing at San Pablo Reservoir

White pelicans fishing at San Pablo Reservoir by Dave Harper, Oakley, CA.
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This group of photos were all taken at San Pablo Dam Reservoir (near Orinda, CA). Due to budget issues they close the south end boat launch area three days a week. This gave me an opportunity to hike there from the north end of the lake. With relatively no one around I was able to get decent access to the white pelican population of the lake.

The water there is still muddy and must be making it tough on ospreys and bald eagles and I saw both at a distance.
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Posted on Monday, April 11th, 2011
Under: Cormorants, Mergansers, Pelicans | No Comments »

Brown pelican crisis pushes wildlife groups to breaking point

Brown pelicans at IBRRC. Photo by IBRRC
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Our friends at International Bird Rescue Research Center in Fairfield have a problem: Too many brown pelicans. IBRRC and three other wildlife rescue centers in Southern California have taken in nearly 500 of the giant starving and wet birds since Jan. 1.  Pelicans take up an enormous amount of care and space and eat huge quantities of fish daily. The end result is the centers have run out of space and funds to care for the birds. They are VERY concerned that they may have to temporarily stop taking in these birds because off their dwindling resources (space, funds).

These organizations need our help in the form of cash donations to help them care for these distressed birds … and they particularly need financial support from the state (Dept. of Fish and Game) and Federal (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) authorities who are ultimately responsible for the pelicans.

Please do what you can to help. Thanks. /Gary

Here is a news release I received from IBRRC on Friday:
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Posted on Monday, February 8th, 2010
Under: International Bird rescue research Center, Pelicans | 2 Comments »

White pelicans circling above Martinez. What a beautiful sight.

White pelicans over Martinez, CA (Ralph Iwasa/Martinez)
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Hi Gary:
Ralph Iwasa photographed some white pelicans circling above Martinez in the last week of July. What a thrill to see!
Betsy Safine, Martinez, CA

Hi Betsy:
What a thrill is right! Beautiful photo. There are so many wild creatures living around the San Francisco Bay Area. All you have to do is look up … or down … or left … or right … or anywhere. /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, August 12th, 2009
Under: Pelicans | No Comments »

Sick pelicans causing concern. Odd behavior is a mystery.

Pelican landing. Photo by Joe Oliver, Walnut Creek, California

Aquatic bird specialists at International Bird Rescue Research Center in Fairfield, Calif., have been receiving reports and admitting pelicans exhibiting odd behavior. Their sister facility in Los Angeles is also seeing an influx in these ailing birds.

“As wildlife rehabilitators, we’re often the first group of people to see a trend developing. We’re the first to notice unusual behavior or illnesses in a population because we’re on the front lines, receiving calls from the public. So, with these pelicans, we know something is going on, we’re just not sure what it is,” said Jay Holcomb, executive director of International Bird Rescue.
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Posted on Tuesday, January 6th, 2009
Under: International Bird rescue research Center, Pelicans | 3 Comments »

These pelicans need your help!


Crisis continues for brown pelicans along Northern California coastline.

The International Bird Rescue Research Center’s Northern California rehabilitation center in Fairfield has received 137 injured pelicans this year — and 115 of those pelicans have come in since June 15!

Most have been weak young birds that are learning how to hunt … but … recently, many have been brought in suffering from injuries from fishing hooks and from being entangled in fishing line.
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Posted on Tuesday, August 19th, 2008
Under: International Bird rescue research Center, Pelicans, Waterfowl | No Comments »