International Bird Rescue is hosting a contest to encourage people to help identify and report blue-band California brown pelicans. Why should you participate? Because you’ll be helping International Bird Rescue (IBR) and California brown pelicans all in the name of science. It’s a triple win!
“Since 2009, we’ve been banding brown pelicans that we’ve rehabilitated with large, blue plastic bands to better facilitate tracking of these birds,” explained Andrew Harmon, Vice Chairman for IBR’s Board of Directors. “Our birders in California and the Pacific Northwest have been wonderful in reporting sightings, so to sustain the interest level and hopefully bring more people on board, we are launching a blue-banded pelican contest with binocular prizes (retail $500), courtesy of Eagle Optics, for the winning adult and youth participant.”
Participating is easy. All you need is a pair of binoculars to see the letter / number combination on the blue-band and a little notebook and pen to jot down all the details, including the location where you saw the pelican, the date and any other pertinent information. Then head to IBR’s website and report everything you saw. If you manage to get a photo of the bird too, that’s even better.
The person who spots the most blue-banded brown pelicans will be the winner! (There are two categories of participants: adults 18 and older and youth under the age of 18.) Winners receive binoculars and an honorary International Bird Rescue Pelican Partnership, which includes a tour of one of the California clinics and having the chance to see a pelican released. Super cool!
There’s a very good chance you’ll see a blue-banded California brown pelican on the west coast. IBR has banded and released more than 1,000 pelicans and they’ve been spotted from Mexico to Washington state and there have even been a few sightings in some of the Gulf states.
So head on out and find those blue-banded birds! IBR’s website says it best: “As you aid the important scientific research on the travels of the Pelecanus occidentalis [the scientific name for California brown pelicans], you will be helping in their conservation.” For all the contest rules, visit International Bird Rescue’s website.