Brown Pelican Spotted Off Coney Island

November 13, 2012

Bermuda has an unusual visitor at this time, with a Brown Pelican being spotted off the East End of the island. There have been less 20 than Brown Pelicans ever recorded in Bermuda, and the last one to visit Bermuda was in April 2009.

This pelican was originally spotted off St. Davids on November 2nd, and was re-located by Andrew Dobson off Coney Island on November 10th where it has been delighting observers.

Mr Dobson, who is the President of the Bermuda Audubon Society, said: “The Brown Pelican is a permanent resident of the coastal marine environment from central North America southward to northern South America.

“Despite its longevity (one was known to be 43 years old) and popularity, the Brown Pelican nearly disappeared from North America between the late 1950s and early 1970s. The cause was human-made organochlorine pesticides entering the marine food web.

“The pesticide endrin killed pelicans directly, whereas DDT impaired reproduction by causing individuals to lay thin-shelled eggs that broke under the weight of incubating parents. (Our own Cahow faced similar problems).

“So vast was the devastation that, ironically, the species disappeared altogether from Louisiana, the “Pelican State,” by 1963. The plight of this and other species led to a ban on the use of DDT in the United States in 1972 and a reduction in the use of endrin during the 1970s.

“Reproduction soon improved and pelican numbers began to rise. Recovery was very successful and the Brown Pelican is no longer endangered in the southeastern United States. Once a symbol of the detrimental effects of pollution in marine ecosystems, the Brown Pelican now symbolizes the success of wildlife-conservation efforts,” concluded Mr Dobson.

- Photo courtesy of Andrew Dobson

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Category: All, Environment

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  1. Jerry says:

    Maybe it was the hurricane, but to my surprise I saw a brown pelican fly past my car as it flew low across the road. I slowed down not to hit it. I’ve never seen one ever in upstate, NY before. What a neat thing to see. :o )