Posted by: aboutbirds | October 16, 2009

The Brown Pelican May Be Off the Endangered Species List


I see brown pelicans every single day, along with the oh-so-great laughing gull and the oh-so-amazing great-tailed grackle. I’ve never thought the brown pelican was a very attractive bird, but they are fun to watch when they dive and its rather funny to see them sitting on power lines alongside the cormorants. When I first got into birding not so long ago, my professor told me that when she moved to Galveston, there were hardly (if any) brown pelicans at all. Now, they’re all over. They recovered their population, a success. On a side note, the brown pelican is the state bird of Louisiana.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recommended the brown pelican to be taken of the list back in February 2008. If it is removed, it will still be monitored for the ten year period between 2010 and 2020. It was 1970 when the brown pelican was first put on the list and there has not yet been a decision to remove it. Before a decision can be made, a monitoring program has to be in place. The monitoring program will consists of bird sighting information from places like the Audubon Society. Pelican colonies and nesting pairs will be monitored over the ten year period.

In the past, the threat to brown pelicans was DDT, DDE, dieldrin, and endrin, which were all pesticides. Through the banning of certain pesticides and brown pelican reintroduction programs, the bird has now thrived throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Currently, their only threats would be from natural occurrences like hurricanes, but the brown pelican has shown that it can recover relatively well from even that.

The brown pelican, along with other birds that we are familiar with, is a species success story. Hopefully, there will be more stories like this in the future when people are more aware of what is happening to their birds.

Click here for the full story.

Pictured: a picture of a brown pelican not in Galveston, but in Cancun. Picture by me.


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