Pelican sightings sought
Scientists are wanting to hear of sightings of pelicans with brightly-coloured leg bands.
Almost 400 birds were banded at Narran Lake, near Brewarrina in north-western NSW, in late March.
The pelicans are expected to return to coastal regions from May.
Scientists from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment are asking for public help in tracking the travel habits of the birds.
"More than 1200 birds across three locations have so far been fitted with brightly coloured leg bands which show where the pelican hatched," said senior scientist Dr John Porter.
"Once pelican chicks fledge, they take to the skies but where they choose to go and nest is critical data we are keen to collect.
"We can use this information to make decisions on wetland and water management for sites favoured by the pelicans and to find out if pelicans prefer to return to where they hatched to breed."
The pelican banding project has been running since 2017, with Narran Lake added for the first time this year.
Narran Lake birds will sport a numbered black band.
Blue bands indicate the pelican hatched in the Gayini Wetlands, while birds from Lake Brewster have orange leg bands.
Victorian pelican nesting sites use red and green leg bands.
The pelican research includes the University of NSW, Water NSW and the Lake Cowal Foundation as project partners.
So far, birds have been tracked up to 650km from their breeding grounds.
UNSW senior research fellow Dr Kate Brandis said: "Until this year, pelicans had not bred at the Narran Lake since the 1990s as there had not been sufficient flooding to support them for the six months needed to successfully raise chicks.
"If we find pelicans do return to their hatching place to breed, maintaining suitable habitat at Narran Lake for this cohort to return to in a few years' time is essential to helping support Australian Pelicans into the future."
To report a banded pelican sighting, email email@example.com, including location, band number, condition of the bird, behaviour and a photograph if possible.
Media release, 9 May 2023
John Porter, DPE