Pelicans and Other Fishing Birds: Pelecaniformes
About one-third of the Pelecaniformes birds are under some kind of threat. Four species are listed as Endangered, facing a very high risk of extinction, or Critically Endangered, facing an extremely high risk of extinction. The problems the birds face include polluted water and loss of habitat for nesting. People have over-fished some parts of the ocean, leaving too few fish for the birds. Some people kill the birds that eat the fish they want for themselves. Some birds have naturally small populations, such as those that live on a few small islands and nowhere else. These birds can be wiped out by animals that are brought to the islands. For example, rabbits brought to some islands eat the plants that the birds need to shade their nests. That means fewer birds are able to raise young.
But there is good news, too. Birds in this group are being helped by people all over the world. In North America, the brown pelican was listed as endangered because of poisonous chemicals, such as dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) that got into their water. When people realized they were harming the birds, the poisons were outlawed. Now the pelicans have made a good comeback and are no longer listed as endangered in some parts of the United States.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
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Haley, Delphine, ed. Seabirds of Eastern North Pacific and Arctic Waters. Seattle: Pacific Search Press, 1984.
Johnsgard, Paul A. Cormorants, Darters, and Pelicans of the World. Washington, DC and London: Smithsonian Institution, 1993.
Kaufman, Kenn. Lives of North American Birds. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1996.
Nelson, J. Bryant. The Sulidae: Gannets and Boobies. Oxford, London, Glasgow: Oxford University Press, 1978.
Soper, Tony. Oceans of Seabirds. London: David and Charles Publishers, 1989.
Stuart, Chris and Tilde. Birds of Africa from Seabirds to Seed-Eaters. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1999.
de Roy, Tui. "To Swim with Pelicans." International Wildlife (January– February 1995): 4–11.
McGrath, Susan. "Shoot-Out at Little Galloo: Angry Fishermen Accuse the Cormorant of Ruining Their Livelihood." Smithsonian (February 2003): 72–78.
Miller, Claire. "Super Scoopers." (pelicans) Ranger Rick (July 1999): 6–12.
Milner, Richard. "Spray It Again." (pelican behavior) Natural History (July 2001): 80–82.
Morgan, S. M., M. A. Ashley-Ross, and D. J. Anderson. "Incubation in Masked Boobies." American Zoologist (December 2000): 1139.
Weimerkirch, Henri, Olivier Chastel, Christophe Barbraud, and Olivier Tostain. "Frigatebirds Ride High on Thermals."Nature (January 23, 2003): 333–334.
The Ocean Conservancy. http://www.oceanconservancy.org (accessed on July 14, 2004).
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