Although we may be out of the field, that doesn't mean our fieldwork is over for the year. Actually, we've just outsourced it. All along the Texas coast, we now have hundreds of eyes on the lookout for the chicks we banded this summer.
I may be exaggerating a little, but with help from our friends at Audubon Texas, Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries, and The Nature Conservancy, this flyer has been distributed to a wide range of organizations, conservation groups, bird enthusiasts, and volunteers. We've also sent a Spanish version to some of our Mexican colleagues.
The more people we have looking out for these birds, the better our chances of getting some real data on where juvenile pelicans go after leaving their breeding colonies. Since juvenile survival is very low, we can't afford to track them with the expensive satellite technology we use on adults. Color-banding, in which chicks are given coded leg bands that can be read at a distance, is the best way to get this information. In Texas, I'm hoping that lots of observers will be able to give us more information on where our banded birds spend the winter, whether they return to nest at the same colonies where they were born, and how likely they are to survive to breeding age. All of the resightings data we get will be mapped here: