May 28

Professor: Just 1% of usual number of baby California pelicans; “Nearly complete failure to breed”; Only 20 newborns in area where 10,000 expected — Expert: ‘Flabbergasted’ by what’s happening in Malibu, “I’ve never seen anything like that” (AUDIO) (ENENews, May 28, 2014):

KPCC, May 27, 2014: Tens of thousands of California brown pelicans have shown up at the Salon Sea months earlier than usual […] to roost in spots inland from their normal nesting areas. […] Dan Cooper, a biologist who monitors birds at Malibu Lagoon, said he first noticed the birds’ strange schedule in mid-April. “I was just sort of flabbergasted at seeing 3,500 brown pelicans resting in Malibu Lagoon,” Cooper said. “I checked my notes, and I have numbers in the hundreds, but I’ve never seen anything like that.” Failed nesting season […] the majority of brown pelicans have given up the attempt for the year. […] Scientists say a lack of fish food sources, such as sardines and anchovies, has caused the widespread nesting failure. Continue reading »

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Dec 22

Experts: “Really an off year” — Pelicans starving in Pacific Northwest since 2011, killing baby birds for food — Breeding success “really poor” since 2011 — “I believe pelicans are responding to large scale changes” — “Sardine crash” persists in Pacific since decline in 2011 (ENENews, Dec 22, 2013):

Laird Henckel, environmental scientist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Dec. 19, 2013 (emphasis added): [P]elicans that would have normally migrated as far north as British Columbia decided to stick around the Central Coast, where an anchovy smorgasbord is taking place. […] “In 2011 and 2012, the pelicans got up there and ran out of food […] They were starving and scavenging for food” […] During this three year period, brown pelicans were reported to have been killing murre chicks for food […]

Wildlife biologist Deborah Jaques of Pacific Eco Logic in Astoria, Oregon, Dec. 19, 2013 (emphasis added): “Not as many birds flew north this year” […] she does not know what is directly causing the decline […] The large quantity of anchovies in Monterey Bay may have helped the pelicans avoid another year of starvation that has been affecting the birds for the past three years […] “Breeding success on the Channel Islands was really poor for the last three years […] For reasons unknown […] many pelicans have been overwintering in the north during the last several years instead of migrating back south around November as is expected. […] Patterns are changing, and I believe the pelicans are responding to these large scale changes.”

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