Removal of the Brown Pelican from the Federal List

Last week, during the Dubai Star spill, I got call of a dead, possibly oiled Brown Pelican on the shoreline of Bay Farm Island that I went out and collected.  While depressing to find such a big, beautiful bird dead, possibly because of this oil spill, it was good news in the background that kept things in perspective.

It is not every day a species get removed from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.  On November 11 2009, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the Brown Pelican, a species almost brought to extinction by the pesticide DDT, is being removed from the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act because its populations have rebounded.

You can read more about it at:

http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2009/pdf/brownpelicanfinaldelisting11-10-09_to_OFR.pdf

The delisting under “Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife” is dry but fascinating reading.

More entertaining is this picture that photographer Tom Grey took of the Brown Pelican in its full, glorious beauty.

This picture always reminds me of the limerick by Dixon Lanier Merritt:

A Wonderful Bird Is The Pelican
His Bill Will Hold More Than His Belican.
He Can Take In His Beak
Food Enough For A Week,
But I’m Damned If I See How The Helican.

Let’s hear it for the Brown Pelican.

Gone birding this next week.  Happy Thanksgiving.

– Nils

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