If you see a white pelican, this group wants to know about it

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If you see a white pelican, this group wants to know about it

White pelican on Henrys Lake in Island Park. | John Gerlach

ISLAND PARK – Henrys Fork Wildlife Alliance and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game are asking recreationists, bird watchers, and the general public to report sightings of pelicans with wing tags.

Citizen reports will help ongoing research by IDFG to learn more about the migration patterns, breeding behavior, and survival rates of the American White Pelican in order to manage the population.

HFWA has partnered with IDFG to launch a citizen science project to report sightings of White Pelicans in order to provide data for IDFG’s work. A web page has been created where sightings may be reported. 

Last month, volunteers posted signs at numerous locations around Henrys Lake, Island Park Reservoir, Harriman State Park, and in St Anthony and Ashton. The signs appeal to recreationists and the general public to report sightings of Pelicans with wing tags on the web page. 

Report tagged pelican sightings at www.idpelicans.org | Caitlyn Wanner

Pelicans in Idaho breed primarily at three nesting colonies — Blackfoot Reservoir, Lake Walcott in Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge, and Island Park Reservoir. They migrate south to coastal waters in winter. 

IDFG has tagged some of the pelicans from some of the breeding colonies with color coded wing tags. 

The public is asked to report pelicans with wing tags if you see them, including how many birds you saw altogether, how many had wing tags, the color of the tag, a number if visible, and the date, time and location, on a simple form. Citizen reports will be important in the efforts of Fish and Game biologists to understand and manage the Idaho segment of the U.S. breeding population. To file a report, click here.