For more than a month now, Brown Pelicans that are sick or dead have been found on California beaches, particularly in the Monterey Bay area. Many have been brought to various wildlife care centers in an effort to nurse them back to health as well as to try an discover just what is causing them to be found in such poor condition.
As many of the birds appear to be greatly underweight and starving, it is now widely thought that some have been unable to find their normal sources of food - particularly the large schools of smelt that due to a shift in ocean currents this year appear to be much farther off-shore than normal.
Ironically, as reported by Jason Hoppin of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, this large increase in sick pelicans may actually be a sign that they are recovering their overall numbers as a species. With the population of these birds having steadily increased over the past few years due to intense conservation efforts (Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s profile of the species indicates that its population now “exceeds historical levels”), this may simply be nature’s way of bringing their numbers to a sustainable level.
...from our series "Catching up the Items to Blog Backlog"...
In January, Jason Beason, special monitoring projects coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory, presented "Bald Eagles & Other Raptors" at the Ridgway Community Center.
Below is an excerpt from the article we found describing his efforts:
"Beason received a B.S. degree in 1990 from the Ohio State University where he majored in natural resources. After college, he moved west and took up the hobby of birding. Beason has worked on a wide variety of projects involving birds in eight western states and conducted surveys in locations as remote as the Frank Church Wilderness Area in Idaho and as urban as "the strip" in Las Vegas. He and his wife, Kerry, and their son, Otus, run a small farm near Paonia."
"Bald eagles winter in Colorado near reservoirs and rivers where they are attracted by the kokanee salmon, a river-locked sockeye salmon that is stocked in local waterways by the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) for recreational fishing. Local residents have reported seeing as many as 30 bald eagles near the bridge in Ridgway. Another good viewing site seems to be where the Uncompahgre River enters the Ridgway Reservoir."