Gunnison Island Pelicans Are On The Move – Help Out By Reporting Wing Tagged American White Pelicans

Gunnison Island in the Great Salt Lake is the home to one of the largest breeding colonies of American White Pelicans in North America and right now those pelicans are on the move to their wintering grounds. Some of the pelicans have already migrated and some are still hanging around freshwater areas like Farmington Bay WMA and Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.

Fifteen American White Pelicans from Gunnison Island have been fitted with small backpacks that transmit their location every couple days. Some of those pelicans have already migrated to California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas and Mexico. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has set up a web site where the pelicans with those devices can be tracked, it is called PeliTrack. I like going there just to see where these pelicans are at least once a week during their migration.

American White Pelican Wing Tag 90K - Glover Pond, Farmington Bay WMA, Davis County, UtahAmerican White Pelican Wing Tag 90K – Glover Pond, Farmington Bay WMA, Davis County, Utah

The American White Pelicans banded and wing tagged from Gunnison Island will have a green tag with a white alphanumeric code. On September 24th I saw and photographed an American White Pelican resting at Glover Pond that had green wing tags with the alphanumeric code 90K on it, I reported my sighting to both John Neill at [email protected] and

Certificate of Appreciation – 90K American White Pelican

The pelican I reported was banded and wing tagged on Gunnison Island on July 19, 2018 when it was too young to fly. I wonder where this pelican will go for the winter and if I will ever see it again, even if I don’t perhaps someone else will and will report the sighting too.

So what is needed to report a banded and wing tagged American White Pelican?

Date, location, tag code, tag color, code color and it would be awesome if photos were included, quality doesn’t matter as long as the tag and code is visible, then report that information to John Neill at [email protected] and/or It is really that simple.

The data that these sightings provide help biologists understand the movements and life history of our American White Pelicans. Bird photographers, birders, nature watchers and citizen scientists can help out by reporting all banded birds including our Gunnison Island American White Pelicans.

Life is good.


The PELI Project is a partnership of Tracy Aviary, MesoWest at the University of Utah, Great Salt Lake Audubon, Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College, and UDWR.

The 2018 info sheet on the PELI Project can be viewed here.


  1. Marty K September 30, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Very cool, Mia! I love watching our Brown Pelicans here in SoCal. They look so unwieldy, but they can maneuver like the dickens!

  2. Elephants Child September 30, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Pelicans are incredible birds. Their dinosaur heritage is so very evident. Beautiful survivors from an earlier age…

  3. April Olson September 30, 2018 at 11:51 am

    I am amazed I don’t see more tags than I do.

  4. Patty Chadwick September 30, 2018 at 9:38 am

    It always amazes me that these big, bulky bitds can fly…..

  5. Trudy Brooks September 30, 2018 at 8:29 am

    Wow, do those tag drop off at some point in time? They are a lot smaller than the units put on Eagles, but can be tracked with telemetry for several years. I never see Pelicans unless I go to Yellowstone Park, and that has been many years ago.

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