White Pelican Reproduction in the Molly Islands Breeding Colony, Yellowstone National Park

Citation data:

140, Vol: 9, Issue: 1, Page: 140-143

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Diem, Kenneth L.
report description
Compared to other North American White Pelican, Pelecanus erythrorhynchos, breeding colonies, the Molly Islands Colony is a minor colony consisting of 400-600 adults (Lier and Behle, 1966; Diem and Condon, 1967; Sloan, 1973; Diem, 1976). Despite its small size, the colony is unique for these reasons: 1) it is the only White Pelican breeding colony in a national park; 2) the location of the colony at an elevation of 7,733 ft (2,357 m) is the highest recorded for any breeding colony of the species; 3) discovered in 1890, the colony has had variable surveillance since 1917, with relatively intense monitoring since 1965; 4) the breeding population is composed of birds from both coasts of North America; and 5) the colony's nesting sites on the two Molly Islands change frequently with no predictable pattern. In addition, a cumulative substrate uplift along the north shore of Yellowstone Lake appears to have significantly raised the stable water level of the southern arms of the lake. Consequently, the major objective of this project is to continue monitoring changes in the reproductive success of the Molly Islands White Pelican colony and to continue studies of the factors influencing those changes.