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Answer Page

Answers to What am I?

I am a Red Eared Slider Turtle

I am a Red Eared Slider Turtle

You can find me basking along the shores of Clearlake. To find out more about me, watch the video below

I am a baby American White Pelican

I am a baby American White Pelican

Here I am all grown up

Here I am all grown up

The following article was written by Elizabeth Wilson for the Record-Bee on January4, 2007.

Plethora of pelicans
Elizabeth Wilson–Record-Bee staff

LAKE COUNTY — Record numbers of the American White Pelicans were spotted this winter on Clear Lake by the Redbud Audubon Society. A total of 1,650 pelicans were counted Dec. 15. “Our previous high count was 883 in 2004,” said Darlene Hecomovich of the Redbud Audubon Society, who is in charge of the annual Christmas bird count. “One of the reasons for this high number is the low water depth. We have more shoreline, due to the semi-droughts, like we saw last year this exposes more prime feeding areas. We also have a healthy population of Threadfin Shad that they feed on,” Hecomovich said. The American White Pelicans have come to Lake County during the winter since 1990, after an absence of more than 30 years. The bird’s disappearance from the lake is possibly due to a chemical similar to DDT, which was used to kill gnats on Clear Lake during the 1940s and 1950s, according Clear Lake State Park (CLSP) and UC Davis records. The western grebes, pelicans and other bird species living on Clear Lake suffered a reproductive collapse due to egg-shell thinning as a result of the chemical, earning discussion in Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring. The book helped spearhead public outcry that led to the chemical’s ban in the U.S. in the 1960s. According to Leona Butts of CLSP, the American White Pelican is an important bird species that all park docents and rangers are prepared to discuss with curious visitors. Pelicans disappeared from Clear Lake between 1949 and 1958. None were found wintering on the lake in 1959. In the western U.S., groups of pelicans went from 23 to five during that same period. “Pelicans began wintering again in Clear Lake in 1990. Over 700 were counted in the Redbud Audubon Christmas bird count in 2003,” Butts said. Approximately 20 birds over-summered in 2003, but there is no evidence of nesting in this area. “We are fortunate to have these numbers as they have been considered a vanishing species due to poisoning by insecticides and shooting by hunters who confuse them with the Snow Goose,” Butts said. Other threats to nesting colonies include “careless visitors who scare these birds off nests, causing the death of many young from overexposure to sunrays or cold. Also, nesting sites are at risk from rising and falling water levels,” Butts said. She said the specimen found in the CLSP Visitor Center today was found the winter of 2000-2001. The taxidermist found a 12-inch, 3.3-pound carp lodged in the bird’s throat. It apparently died of suffocation, Butts said. The pelican does not “plunge feed” from the air like many other species, including the brown pelican. It is a surface feeding bird, scooping up fish while swimming and often working in groups. A pelican’s bill can hold almost three gallons of water as it scoops up fish more than twice the capacity of its stomach. The pelican starts coming to Clear Lake in October, and the breeding birds usually leave by the end of May, although some stay later, Butts said. Jeannette Knight of the Redbud Audubon Society said there is still plenty of time to spot the pelicans. “The [Clear Lake State] park is a good place, the county park, Rodman Slough and Anderson Marsh. They’re just about anyplace on the lake, depending on where the food is,” Knight said. Contact Elizabeth Wilson at ewilson@record-bee.com
(c) 2008 Lake County Record Bee. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.

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