Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Episode 95 (January 16, 2012): Pelicans

Click to listen to episode (2:02).

Please see below (after the transcript and show notes) for links to news and upcoming events.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 16, 2012.

This week we feature another mystery sound.  Have a listen for about 10 seconds, and see if you can guess what kind of birds are making the clucking or croaking sounds.  And here’s a hint: You might find this throaty creature in a dive.


If you guessed pelicans, you’re right!  Two pelican species occur along Virginia’s coast: records show the White Pelican as only an occasional visitor on the Eastern Shore, but increasing numbers of Brown Pelicans have been seen around Virginia coastal waters since the 1980s.  Brown Pelicans are known for their feeding behavior of plunging into water to trap fish in their large, expandable throat pouch.  In 1970, after their populations had significantly decreased over several decades, Brown Pelicans were listed as a federally endangered species.  But a ban on the pesticide DDT, restrictions on similar pesticides, and various habitat-protection efforts have helped Brown Pelicans make a remarkable recovery along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, and the species was removed from the federal list in 1985.  Thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Sound Clips” Web site for making this week’s sound available for public use.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

Acknowledgments: The sound of baby pelicans was taken from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Sound Clips” Web site, at http://www.fws.gov/video/sound.htm (accessed 1/17/12).  This sound was featured previously in Virginia Water Radio Episode 37 (week of 10-11-10).  

Sources: Information on pelicans was taken from A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, by Chandler S. Robbins et al., St. Martin’s Press, 2001 edition; the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ “Fish and Wildlife Information Service,” online at http://vafwis.org/fwis/?Title=VaFWIS+Species+Information; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Brown Pelican Fact Sheet” (PDF file), November 2009, online at http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/pdf/brown_pelicanfactsheet09.pdf; Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s “Bird Guide” Web site at http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search; and Cornell’s “Birds of North America Online” Web site at http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna (subscription required for this site).

Recent Virginia Water News
            For news relevant to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.

Water Meetings and Other Events
            For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and Other Events, online at http://virginiawaterevents.wordpress.com/.  The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.