Two of the Minnesota pelicans radio tagged this fall so their movements can be tracked have arrived at their wintering territories on the Gulf of Mexico.
Four American White Pelicans are sending signals to a research team. The study is intended to provide information on where on the Gulf the birds spend the winter, their migration paths, and their movements in Minnesota when they return in the spring.
Impetus for the study was evidence of oil and oil dispersant chemical found last summer in eggs and bodies of pelicans nesting here. About one-third of the world population of this bird nests in Minnesota.
One of the tagged pelicans arrived east of the mouth of the Mississippi River in mid-October. Its radio signal is spasmodic, but one reading did arrived on Nov. 21.
A second bird arrived on the Gulf Nov. 14. It is located south of Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Two birds are taking more leisurely trips. One of them flew 175 miles on Thanksgiving to a location on the Arkansas River. The second pelican moved through central Mississippi this weekend, the last signal showing it near Greenwood, Mississippi.
The project is a partnership between Audubon Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Non-game Program, and North Dakota State University.
To see the map and follow the pelicans go to http://mn.aOneudubon.org/
Below, American White Pelicans