White Pelicans of Western America

    Abstract

    WHERE formerly there were more than seventy nesting colonies of white pelicans in western Canada and the United States, there are now but seven large colonies. Of these, five are in Government-protected areas, a fortunate circumstance, since although there still exist 20,000-25,000 of these birds in the United States, their continued existence is not so secure as the numbers might suggest. The danger which most threatens the species, according to Ben H. Thompson (Science Service, Washington, D.C.), is the draining of lakes where the nesting islands exist, but there has also to be taken into account the retaliation upon nests and eggs by fishermen who object to the pelicans' destruction of fishes, notwithstanding that in most places the birds have been found to feed mainly upon fishes not good for sport or food. A third line of control was practised for some time in Yellowstone Lake, on account of the part taken by pelicans as carriers of a trout parasite, but that policy has been given up, and the Yellowstone Park birds are now fully protected.

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