California Brown Pelican equipped with a GPS tag. DJ 2015

Movement patterns of California brown pelicans following oiling and rehabilitation

This project was undertaken to better understand the fate of California Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis carolinensis) after being oiled and rehabilitated.

In May 2015 a pipeline ruptured, spilling crude oil into the surf on Refugio Beach in Santa Barbara County. Many birds and marine mammals were affected by the spill, and an extensive response was mounted. Close to 70 oiled birds were captured, most of them brown pelicans. Twelve of the 42 brown pelicans that were released after oiling, washing, and rehabilitation were outfitted with satellite GPS tags, and an additional 8 unoiled pelicans were captured and tagged as controls. We compared the movements, distance traveled, and presence in breeding colonies of the rehabilitated and control birds over the following years. 

Collaborators

Juliet Lamb, South Carolina Cooperative Research Unit / Clemson University / University of Rhode Island

Christine FiorelloMichael Ziccardi, Oiled Wildlife Care Network 

Patrick Jodice, USGS South Carolina Cooperative Research Unit / Clemson University

Kyra Mills-Parker, Oiled Wildlife Care Network 

Rick Golightly, Humboldt State University

Laird Henkel, Office of Spill Prevention and Response, CA Department of Fish & Wildlife

Yvan Satgé, South Carolina Cooperative Research Unit / Clemson University

Funding

Oiled Wildlife Care Network 

Publication

Movement patterns of California brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus) following oiling and rehabilitation. J.S. Lamb, C.V. Fiorellob, Y.G. Satgé, K. Mills, M. Ziccardi, P.G.R. Jodice. 2018. Marine Pollution Bulletin: DOI 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.03.043