Refugio pelicans in Baja


Happy 2016! The satellite-tagged pelicans from the Refugio spill have largely moved down to Baja. Seven of the spill birds are there, ranging from the Pacific coast to throughout the Gulf of California. We don’t know what they’re doing there — maybe thinking about breeding? — but due to the El Niño, it is not expected to be a good year for pelican breeding, so we will try not to be too disappointed if they don’t end up in breeding colonies.

Two control pelicans are hanging out in San Diego. The remainder of the controls are in the greater Los Angeles area; from Ventura to just south of Newport Beach. A couple of spill birds are on the central coast; one in Morro Bay and one in Santa Barbara.

Sadly, we haven’t heard from one control bird and one spill bird for a month or so. The latter last transmitted from the open water, and was moving suspiciously like the prevailing currents, so we presume that that bird died. The other one’s battery was low, so we’re hopeful he’ll start transmitting again once his battery charges.

We’re excited about following our birds in the New Year. Although we don’t have a perfect survival rate, most of our birds are alive and moving around like pelicans should. A great start to the new year! Speaking of which, we wish everyone — people and pelicans alike — a happy and healthy 2016!


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.

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