Pacific Brown Pelican Survey

Pacific Brown Pelican. Photo: Carl Velie

A joint effort of  U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Cornell Lab of Ornithology (eBird), state agencies, Conservacion de Islas and the Audubon network, the biannual Brown Pelican survey is helping us define the distribution and abundance of Brown Pelicans and track shifts in population structure. The California Brown Pelican subspecies (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus) was removed from the Endangered Species list in 2009. The most recent population estimate is 70,680 breeding pairs. The majority of the subspecies breeds in the Gulf of California, Mexico; 15-20% of the population breeds at the U.S. Channel Islands. In recent years Brown Pelican productivity at the Channel Islands and across the range has been poor, and key forage species including anchovy and sardine have collapsed raising questions and concerns about recruitment to the breeding population and ultimately the health of the subspecies. 

Results from past surveys
May 2016
October 2016

There are two ways to participate in this survey:

  1. You can join an organized group count at specific eBird Hotspot roost sites managed by a coordinator listed below OR
  2. Roost sites might already be assigned, in which case you can find your own spot on the coast in Baja Mexico, California, Oregon, and Washington and enter your own data. To survey at any coastal access point, follow the steps in the “protocol” section below. 

Washington: Jen Syrowitz
jsyrowitz@audubon.org
206-652-2444 x108 

Oregon: Joe Liebezeit
jliebezeit@audubonportland.org
971-222-6121

California: Anna Weinstein
aweinstein@audubon.org
415-644-4613

Mexico: Yuliana Bedolla
yuliana.bedolla@islas.org.mx

Protocol
Seas & Shores

Protocol

To participate in the brown pelican survey in Mexico, California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, follow these instructions.

Read more

Objectives
Seas & Shores

Objectives

The goal is to initiate a biannual citizen science-based survey to help understand the abundance and distribution of Brown Pelicans in California, Oregon, and Washington. This survey will complement a 47-year time series of productivity monitoring data at the U.S. Channel Islands and a shorter, but also robust, data set in Mexico.

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Brown Pelican
Birds

Brown Pelican

The Brown Pelican is one of California's most distinctive birds, and it very nearly disappeared altogether.

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Reporting Blue- and Green-banded Brown Pelicans
Bird-Friendly Communities

Reporting Blue- and Green-banded Brown Pelicans

Please report any birds with bands to International Bird Rescue

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News & Updates

Happy birthday to the National Wildlife Refuge System!

Brown Pelican Photo: Michael Qualls/Audubon Photography Awards

From US Department of the Interior Facebook page

On March 14, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt established the first wildlife refuge on Pelican Island in Florida. Created to protect bird species that had been hunted to the brink of extinction, this first refuge led to the National Wildlife Refuge System that now includes over 560 refuges across the country. Though the brown pelican has recovered, Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge continues to protect 14 other threatened and endangered species. 

Audubon California is joining up with several other agencies, including the USFWS to complete a citizen science survey of the California Brown Pelican on May 7. Save the date!

Audubon network helping Pacific Brown Pelicans
Audublog

Audubon network helping Pacific Brown Pelicans

Our beautiful Pacific brown pelicans are the iconic seabird of our wild coast. These birds are experiencing hard times, but action on the part of the Audubon network and federal agencies is helping.

State delists California Brown Pelican
Audublog

State delists California Brown Pelican

This is the first species to be removed from the list.

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How you can help, right now