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Early Nesting of the California Brown Pelican on Anacapa Island, California

Sidney B. Peyton
Publication Information
3 (May-June)
From Field and Study

Early Nesting of California Brown Pelican on Anacapa Island, California

I was on Anacapa Island on March 12, 1911, when there were about two hundred pairs of Pelicans (Pelecanus californicus) on the island. None of them had eggs at that time, aithough a few had started nest building. I visited the island again on May 12, 1912, finding that the colony had not increased in size during the year. Most of the nests were ready for eggs at that time, but there were only two fresh eggs to be found. On June 11, 1915, the colony had increased noticeably and had divided into two sections, one on the top of the island and the other on the slope under the cliffs on the south side. The one on top had a few newly hatched young, but in most cases there were eggs, fresh or nearly so. In the colony on the south side all of the eggs had hatched, and most of the young were nearly grown.

On March 7, 1916, we estimated that there were at least fifteen hundred pairs of birds upon the island, in two colonies, as before. The nests on the south side contained three eggs each; most of those on the top of the island were just completed, though one set of three fresh eggs was seen there, and a few with two eggs. This year (1917) we were on the island on March 2. There were at least two thousand pairs of Pelicans in the colony, and they were already breeding. In fact, most of the eggs were heavily incubated, and in one nest there was a newly hatched young, together with two eggs on the point of hatching. Many sets of four eggs were seen, and one set of three was collected containing a runt egg about the size of a hen's egg. From the above data it appears that the colony is increasing rapidly in numbers, and that the birds are nesting earlier every year.

Sidney B. Peyton

Sespe, California, March 24, 1917

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