December Refugio pelican update


Here they are, the stars of the show! As you can see, we have pelicans moving south. They are now ranging from the San Francisco Bay area to mainland Mexico, in the southern third of the Gulf of California.

There have been many sightings of the instrumented birds, and for the most part they are behaving just like pelicans should, although they may be spending a bit more time preening than usual. Sadly, we do have our first confirmed death: the carcass of pelican Z32 was found in the Morro Bay area recently. While this was very sad news, we are encouraged knowing that that bird traveled from the release site to Pt. Reyes, hung out in Half Moon Bay for a while, and returned south to Morro Bay over the course of 5 months. She must have been in pretty good shape to to do that!

We don’t know why she died; it might have been related to the oiling, it might have been related to her time in captivity, it might have been related to the transmitter . . . . or it might have been unrelated to all of these things. We’ll never know. But I am happy that our care was able to give this bird the gift of 5 months at “home,” living the life she was intended to live. And I’m happy to know that the majority of our tagged birds are out there doing great.


Please keep reporting those blue and green-banded birds:

The rehabilitated pelicans from the spill are banded with metal federal bands as well as large green bands. If you happen to see a green-banded pelican, PLEASE let us know!! Report them here.

If you happen to see a blue-banded pelican, report it here.

2 thoughts on “December Refugio pelican update

  1. Thank you for your interest in this study! The different colored circles that you see on the map are locations of the different birds, with each color representing locations of a single bird.

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