Reporting Wing Tagged American White Pelicans – Helping Birds by Helping the PELI Project

/, Birds, Davis County, Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Utah/Reporting Wing Tagged American White Pelicans – Helping Birds by Helping the PELI Project

American White Pelicans feeding on Glover PondAmerican White Pelicans feeding on Glover Pond, Farmington Bay WMA, Davis County, Utah

The Great Salt Lake PELI Project needs our help finding and reporting wing tagged American White Pelicans to help understand Utah’s American White Pelican’s migration patterns, breeding behavior, and survival rates. They work in partnership with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources on pelican research that involves marking pelicans with leg bands and wing tags.

Last year I wrote a post titled American White Pelicans – PeliCam and PeliTrack and I also donate the use of my American White Pelican images to the Peli Project because I believe in what they are doing and I want to help them out any way I can. Janice Gardner; a volunteer at the Peli Project, wrote to me a few days ago and asked if I could distribute a new info sheet on how to submit observations of wing tagged American White Pelicans in Utah and I was more than happy to help out.

The new information sheet can be seen here:  PELIProject Info Sheet 2018

Banded and Wing Tagged American White Pelican 9E3Banded and Wing Tagged American White Pelican 9E3 – Glover Pond, Farmington Bay WMA, Davis County, Utah

American White Pelicans banded and wing tagged from Gunnison Island will have a green tag with a white alpha-numeric code, other locations will have different colored tags and alphanumeric codes, for instance the wing tagged pelican above that I found and photographed on August 6, 2014 at Glover Pond was banded and tagged at Minidoka National Wildlife Refuge in Minidoka County, Idaho, the tag is red, the alphanumeric code is white. The pelican was banded on July 18, 2012 when it was too young to fly.

I have a more recent sighting of an American White Pelican that was banded on Gunnison Island but didn’t want to use the photo I took of it because the pelican was deceased.

If you find a wing tagged American White Pelican in Utah you can report the sighting to John Neill at [email protected] or

What is needed to report a wing tagged American White Pelican:

    • Date
    • Location – Name of location or latitude and longitude (Google maps can help with that information)
    • Tag color and code

And of course a photo of the wing tagged pelican would be super, it doesn’t matter about the quality of the image as long as the wing tag can be read.

Certificate of Appreciation 9E3 American White PelicanCertificate of Appreciation 9E3 American White Pelican

Once the pelican is reported the USGS will send a Certificate of Appreciation to the email you provided which will state when, where and how old the pelican was when banded and tagged. I’ve been reporting banded birds since 2005 and love knowing more about the birds I have reported.

The Peli Project is most interested in the pelicans that were tagged on Gunnison Island of course but I think that reporting any wing tagged American White Pelican is a great idea and will help to further understand these large, charismatic birds. Citizen re-sightings are critical to the Peli Project and help determine the status and migration patterns of the American White Pelican population.

If you would like to view the breeding and nesting American White Pelicans on Gunnison Island the PeliCam is terrific, I view the pelicans several times a week by watching the cam. And the movement of the pelicans that have tracking devices can be seen on PeliTrack.

I know that I will be reporting any wing tagged American White Pelicans I see while they are here in northern Utah and I hope that others will too and help out the Peli Project!

Life is good.



  1. Pepe Forte April 15, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Very, very cool group shot of the pelicans on Grover Pond. Also appreciate the info on how to report tagged pelicans. And congrats on the Cert. of Appreciation. Thanks Mia.

  2. Laura Culley April 13, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    One of the things I miss about living in Dallas was visiting the wintering white pelicans at White Rock Lake. They’re magnificent, especially when they do that magical flock thing. If I happen to see any white pelicans, I will do my best to get a tag number and report them. That is a TERRIFIC project and I’d be delighted to participate. However living in Northern Arizona, my hopes of seeing white pelicans is negligible. Sigh!
    Thank you so much for YOUR participation!!!

  3. Elephants Child April 13, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Any project which can assist in the survival of a species is worth while. Thank you.

  4. Utahbooklover April 13, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Very informative post. I appreciate your great photography and your contributions to science too. Thanks!

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