Brown Pelican Alive and Well, 3 Years After the Refugio Oil Spill!

We just received some great news!  One of the Brown Pelicans that was oiled, cleaned, rehabilitated and released after the Santa Barbara Refugio Oil Spill in 2015 was seen in late May in Gray’s Harbor, Washington!  Deborah Jaques (Pacific Eco Logic, Astoria, OR) saw this bird on May 26, 2018 (exactly 3 years since she was captured!) while doing pelican surveys in Washington.  At the time of the Refugio Spill, this bird was a female second year.


Z16, 3 years after the Refugio Oil Spill! (Photo Credit: Deborah Jaques)

Z16, as she is affectionately known (based on her permanent green band with white lettering), was captured in the Channel Islands Harbor on May 26, 2015.  She then spent almost 3 weeks at the Los Angeles Oiled Bird Care and Education Center, where she was cared for by Oiled Wildlife Care Network response staff and volunteers.  She was released at White Point Park, near Long Beach on June 16, 2015 in and was seen once before on the Columbia River.

We are so excited to get news that she is alive and well, and doing exactly what you would expect a pelican would do – in this case, standing on a pier piling looking pretty.  So if you see any pelicans with green bands out there, PLEASE let us know, as these were pelicans that were cared for after the Refugio Spill, and knowing which birds are still out there is crucial information for expanding our understanding of how these birds do after being impacted by an oil spill.


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