Brown Pelican

(Pelecanus occidentalis)

The Brown Pelican is a conservation success story! The birds were Pelican
listed in the early 1970s as
an endangered species due
to DDT poisoning and
excessive hunting. Their
populations have grown in
30 years to numbers around
50,000 birds and are
considered stable.

Brown Pelicans on the West
Coast engage in a
reversed migration.   Adult
birds begin flying South in
November – January to nest
on islands off the coast of Baja California.   After nesting they fly
north in the summer and spend their non-breeding season along the
west coast of the United States from California to Washington.

The preserved specimen of Brown Pelican on display at the Randall
Museum is a beautiful adult male pelican.  The bird died at the
International Bird Rescue Center in Cordelia, California. It may have
succumbed to domoic acid poisoning. This is actually a natural event
that is cyclical.  Red algae over- blooms on the West Coast in certain
years and is poisonous to sea creatures.

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