As a past Galveston Bay Foundation volunteer, I received an email about a pretty unique way we, as Texans, can help with research being done on brown pelicans and wanted to share with all of you. Brown pelicans are the staple of the Gulf shore piers of Texas, and a group of researchers needs your help!
This month, 300 young brown pelicans were tagged with green bands by Clemson University graduate student, Juliet Lamb while working with the Galveston Bay Foundation. Juliet has been involved in sea bird research for eight years, and is the lead coordinator for the brown pelican satellite tracking project in the Northern Gulf of Mexico with Clemson University and the United States Geological Survey South Carolina Cooperative Research Unit. Her PhD brown pelican research is being funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management with a goal to gather more data on brown pelican movements in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas in relation to offshore development in the Gulf. She is looking at nest attendance, diet, reproductive success, and oil and gas operational impacts on their lives.
In order to better understand what is ecologically important to the brown pelican species, the tagged youngsters were a part of breeding colonies near Galveston, Port O’Connor, and Port Aransas. Juliet and the Galveston Bay Foundation are trying to spread the word to Texans living or visiting the coastal communities of our state to keep an eye out for specifically any brown pelican with a green band on its leg. I reached out to Juliet for a picture, and as you can see above, the brown pelican chick has that noticeable green band on its leg.
If you see a brown pelican with a green band, or a band of any other color, you are being asked to report your observation to Juliet’s research project website here. Before you report, you’ll want to take note of:
• The band color and its three letters and/or numbers
• Date and location you saw the brown pelican(s)
Texas’ pelicans have green bands with white letters that start with the letter “T”. Other Gulf states may have bands with
different colors so it’s very important to take careful note of your observations before you report them. You can report
BOTH Texas and non-Texas brown pelican sightings on Juliet’s research project website.
If you’d like to know more about what Juliet and her team have been working on throughout the years and some of their findings, visit her personal website and blog. If you’re headed to a Texas beach before summer ends, don’t forget to tell your family and friends to be on the lookout for tagged brown pelicans!
Enjoy your journey towards learning about the importance of helping Texas make a difference in our coastal environments!
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