Brown Pelican Roost Survey

Pursuing its mandate to advance knowledge about nature in the community, BVAS will be surveying five brown pelican roost sites in North County on May 7.  This is part of a long-term study by Audubon, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, and Cornell School of Ornithology to document changes over time in the pelican population.

Not many years ago, the brown pelican was a harsh example of the devastating effect of DDT in the environment.  Fortunately, the pelicans began to recover following the ban on DDT, and were moved off the endangered species list in 2009.  But now, contemporary threats continue to make life difficult for this species.  Oil spills, dietary competition, and human fishing practices take their toll, but climate change remains the biggest threat.

According to the Audubon Society’s “Birds and Climate Change” report, the brown pelican is considered to be “climate threatened.”  It is projected to lose over half of its current winter range within the next 50 years.  How will climate change affect the food fish that pelicans depend on?  If global warming is not controlled, these birds face a future of altered ranges and unavailability of suitable prey species, threatening their long term survival and leading to their infrequent occurrence along the coast,

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