Age, nest initiation, and demographic characteristics of American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) breeding at Marsh Lake, Minnesota

Mark E. Clark, Jon J.Jeff Dimatteo

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1 Scopus citations


We studied how adult age and condition are related to nest initiation date and estimated survival and age at maturation in the American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos Gmelin, 1789), a long-lived, migratory, colonialnesting waterbird. Timing of nest initiation in the breeding colony at Marsh Lake, Minnesota, was not related to age or body condition of adults. However, nests were initiated significantly earlier on a more isolated island with higher nest success than another island located nearer to the lake shore. We estimated an adult annual survival probability of 0.813 ± 0.079, similar to that reported for other American White Pelican populations. We estimated the mean age at which American White Pelicans return to nest at Marsh Lake and found that pelicans are unlikely to begin nesting until they are at least 5 years old.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)996-999
Number of pages4
JournalWilson Journal of Ornithology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank C. Henderson, M. Martell, and J. E. Wollenberg for assistance in the field. J. Kittilson provided assistance in the lab. We thank D. Trauba and staff at Lac qui Parle WMA for their cooperation with this study. Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and North Dakota State University. We are especially grateful to the late A. H. Grewe Jr. at St. Cloud State University for initiating banding of American White Pelicans at Marsh Lake and to his former students for maintaining the long-term banding that made this study possible. This research was conducted in accordance with North Dakota State University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (protocol A13057), and permits from the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory (Permit 05838 in 1987; all other years Permit 08077), US Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. This manuscript was improved thanks to the critical review of earlier versions by J. Mahoney, J. Norland, C. Pearson, N.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Wilson Ornithological Society. All rights reserved.


  • Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
  • age
  • colonial-nesting
  • nest initiation


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