Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve and Audubon Society of Portland offer an exciting Citizen Science Opportunity. Join in the early evening for their Pelican Survey on Saturday, Sep. 14 from 5-7 p.m. at Falcon Cove. The survey will be from 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Although the brown pelican was removed from the Endangered Species List in 2009, new threats are challenging the bird’s survival. In recent years, this species has suffered huge nest failures on its breeding grounds off southern and Baja California, which is thought to be tied to declines in their main food source, forage fish.
According to a member of the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve Community Team, Nadia Gardner, pelicans breed in California and congregate on the Oregon Coast during the summer.
“Pelicans sleep, spread out along the coast during the day, sit out on the cliff, and members and volunteers use scopes and binoculars to count the pelicans,” Gardner said.
This survey is conducted for two days each year from Baja California to Washington, with a goal to help define the distribution and abundance of brown pelicans and track shifts in population structure to help better protect this majestic bird.
You can help Friends of Cape Falcon Marine Reserve by joining the effort to count pelicans at their local rocky island pelican roosting sites in the Cape Falcon Marine Reserve (CFMR) just off the community of Falcon Cove between Manzanita and Cannon Beach.
“We have 50 years of data, but not a lot of data spanning the entire coast range,” Gardner said.
Pelicans have a reduced availability to prey. Whales in the Columbia River have no food in portions where they eat. This is what is happening to the pelicans’ prey as well.
By doing this survey, the CFMR will be able to see what is happening with the birds, why, and find solutions. A lot of volunteers also do black oystercatcher monitoring. These birds lay one to two eggs per summer.
Falcon Cove can be hard to find. CFMR will email specific instructions to volunteers. Email [email protected] for location and details.