Record numbers of Pelicans on Farallon Islands

There’s tell tale research from scientists studying Brown Pelicans on the Farallon Islands: The numbers are way up.

Researchers at the Point Reyes Bird Observatory (PRBO) counted a new peak of 5,856 pelicans on the the islands. The low was in 1968 when only 363 pelicans were counted.

“Only in 1984 were there counts over 5,000 on the island,” said PRBO biologist Russ Bradley. “The birds have now covered the marine terrace and are roosting in huge numbers in many other areas of the island as well. This number may increase, as pelican abundance usually peaks in the fall.”

This may explain the huge numbers of pelicans spotted foraging for fish in Northern California. The pelicans have been colliding and competing with fishermen especially along the Santa Cruz County coast where they’ve congregating near fishing piers. IBRRC has been treating hundreds of injured, starving and sick pelicans since mid-year.

Pelicans have made a major comeback after facing extinction from exposure to DDT other man-made factors in California 40 years ago. This year the U.S. government is leaning on removing the majestic bird from the endangered species list.

Read the full story in the Marin IJ or see the PRBO website