Professor: Just 1% of usual number of baby California pelicans; “Nearly complete failure to breed”; Only 20 newborns in area where 10,000 expected — Expert: ‘Flabbergasted’ by what’s happening in Malibu, “I’ve never seen anything like that” (AUDIO)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
By Paul Martin

ENENews.com
May 28th, 2014

KPCC, May 27, 2014: Tens of thousands of California brown pelicans have shown up at the Salon Sea months earlier than usual […] to roost in spots inland from their normal nesting areas. […] Dan Cooper, a biologist who monitors birds at Malibu Lagoon, said he first noticed the birds’ strange schedule in mid-April. “I was just sort of flabbergasted at seeing 3,500 brown pelicans resting in Malibu Lagoon,” Cooper said. “I checked my notes, and I have numbers in the hundreds, but I’ve never seen anything like that.” Failed nesting season […] the majority of brown pelicans have given up the attempt for the year. […] Scientists say a lack of fish food sources, such as sardines and anchovies, has caused the widespread nesting failure.

Transcript

Dan Cooper, biologist hired to monitor birds in Malibu lagoon: “There were hundreds of adult brown pelicans roosting there.”
KPCC: That was strange because at this time of year most adults should be nesting and raising young on offshore islands, not loafing around on our beaches. […]
Cooper: “It’s been shown that when adult brown pelicans start showing up in spring in Southern California they’re birds whose nests have failed.”

At 2:30 in

KPCC: [Daniel] Anderson is a professor emeritus at UC Davis. He’s been traveling down to Baja for the last 46 years and he just got back from his annual trip last week.
Daniel Anderson, U. of California, Davis professor emeritus: “I was assessing the status of breeding populations in the major part of the breeding range.”
KPCC: Major is right, 80-90% of all California brown pelicans breed in Mexico. […]
Anderson: “It’s been almost a nearly complete failure to breed, which is quite unusual”
KPCC: Anderson estimates that Baja pelicans have reared about 1% of the young they normally would.
Anderson: “At one island that we study, Isla Salvatierra, which would normally have 8,000-10,000 young, only had like 20 young.”

At 3:45 in

KPCC: Having given up on nesting this year [the pelicans are at the Salton Sea east of Palm Springs, 100 miles inland –] months earlier than normal. [Kathy] Molina says you can hear the difference.
Kathy Molina, biologist: “This should be just a cacophony of Caspian terns, and gull-billed terns and skimmers. They should all be coming in with food, feeding their chicks, vocalizing to their mates or their chicks. This is really quiet.

Full broadcast available here

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