U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version

April 2001


Published in North American Bfrd Bander.


We analyzed 687 recovery records for American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) banded as nestlings at Marsh Lake, Minnesota, between 1972 and 1998 to determine mortality, migration, and dispersal patterns. About 84% of the recoveries were in the United States, 12% in Mexico, 3% in Canada, and 1% in Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Recoveries included 404 bands from birds reported as found dead or shot and 283 bands from birds due to other miscellaneous causes. Median age at recovery was 1.0 year. The mean distance from the banding site to a recovery location was 1240 km. Pelicans from Marsh Lake migrated through the Great Plains and along the Mississippi River and spent winters in the lower Mississippi River Valley and along the Gulf of Mexico. Band recoveries of pelicans near aquaculture areas in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi increased 18-fold since 1985; the rapid expansion of the industry indicating that aquaculture may provide an important food source for wintering and migrating pelicans. Further research is needed to clarify the extent of utilization' and importance of aquaculture to American White Pelicans.