Saturday, February 9, 2013

Rehabbing pelicans

International Bird Rescue has asked elephant seal docents to keep an eye out for pelicans with blue bands. I haven't seen one, but this is the background information on them.

They explain the meanings of the tags:

Understanding each column

Metal Bands: A metal federal band number is placed on each bird upon release. The numbers on these bands are not easy to read but they consist of a prefix and a suffix, such as 0669-38711.

Blue Plastic Bands: Prior to late 2009, we only banded our pelicans with metal federal bands. Now we put blue plastic bands on all of our pelicans. Each blue band has a letter and two numbers. The last two numbers on the federal band are typically the two numbers on the blue band. For example: Federal band number 0669-38711 will be blue band A11. The letter is changed for every 100 bands. So far, we have used letters A, C, E, H, J, K, M, P, R, S and T. This field is where we list the blue band information. Sometimes we just get the blue band reported, but we can match it up with the federal bands that are on our records.
Reason for Rehab: We wanted to provide a basic overview of why the bird came into our care. (For example, "fishing tackle injury.") After a brief explanation, we also include the age of the bird in the following categories: "HY" means hatching year, "SY" means second year, "ASY" means after-second-year and "ATY" means after-third-year. So, you may see something like "Injured ASY," which means it was an after-second-year bird that came to us and was treated for an injury.
Release Site: Most of our Brown Pelicans are rehabilitated at one of our two wildlife care centers and are released nearby. However, we do occasionally rehabilitate pelicans in oil spills elsewhere in North America. For instance, you may notice that we have some encounters from birds that were rehabilitated during an oil spill in Coatzacoalcos, Mexico on the lower coast of the Gulf of Mexico. We were able to go back to Mexico to look for these birds a few years after the spill, and some of those birds have been sighted in a few of the Gulf states.
Encounter Site: Individuals who have encountered a banded pelican provides us with information on where and when they encountered the bird. The information that we receive is sometimes general and sometimes specific.

Days After Release: This field indicates the time from release to the latest encounter. You will see that some birds are encountered very soon after release, others many years later and some numerous times.

Dates: To get an idea of each bird's journey, we have included the date the bird was brought into care, the date of release and the encounter date.
Additional Sightings: Some birds have been sighted multiple times. Rather than creating a new field for each sighting, we created this field so that we can record encounters for each bird as they occur.

I haven't seen one, but I'll take notice if I do!

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