Removed from the Endangered Species List four years ago, the Brown Pelican continues to grow in population along most American coasts. Their numbers were falling like a rock in the late 60’s and early 70’s, so the federal government put them on the list for protection. After that the government banned the use of what was believed to be the number one killer of Brown Pelicans (and other large birds), the chemical DDT, a potent pesticide. DDT was banned in 1972 and eventually became banned around the world.
In 2009, after bird counts of pelicans reached healthy levels and habitats for the pelicans had been substantially restored along many coastlines, the pelican was de-listed from the Endangered Species List and continues its increased role in the ecological balance of our coastlines – which includes a growing impact on the Murre bird populations off the Oregon Coast. Their numbers may be considerably trimmed in the near future due to the re-emergence of not only the Brown Pelican but also the Bald Eagle and the Peregrine Falcon.
Our thanks to Jeff Cox for contributing two very nice photos of the “browns” as they ply the Central Oregon Coast.