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Brown Pelican Citizen Science - Baja to Washington

Audubon California, Audubon Portland (Oregon), Audubon Washington, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Cornell’s eBird are partnering with citizen scientists and state agencies to survey Brown Pelicans in Baja Mexico, California, Oregon and Washington.

To learn more about the survey and how you can participate, http://ca.audubon.org/brownpelicansurvey

All participants will report their observations and photos through a special location in eBird.  The survey protocol was designed by experts to capture a comprehensive snapshot of pelican abundance and age distribution. This information along with data related to changes in weather patterns, prey availability, habitat or contaminants could impact affect California Brown Pelican populations over the long term.

The California Brown Pelican subspecies (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus) was removed from the federal Endangered Species list in 2009. The most recent population estimate is 70,680 breeding pairs. Across most of their range, their numbers vary with forage fish abundance and ocean conditions. Brown Pelican remains on the Oregon state endangered species list. This species was recently removed from the Washington state endangered species list (April 9, 2016), but continues to be protected by state (‘protected wildlife’) and federal law (Migratory Bird Treaty Act), and are considered a “Priority” species by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife due to vulnerable aggregations. The majority of the subspecies breeds in the Gulf of California, Mexico; 15-20% of the population breeds at the U.S. Channel Islands. They are not known to breed in Washington. In recent years, scientists have observed poor productivity of Brown Pelicans at the Channel Islands and across the species’ range. Changes in the population of key forage species including anchovy and sardines raise questions and concerns about the health of the breeding pelican population.

For more information, also see the US Fish and Wildlife Service Region One Migratory Birds press release:  http://www.fws.gov/news/index.cfm?Region=1