Watch: Banding the Brown Pelican

State News

Louisiana Wildlife experts just finished the 2020 “banding” season at Queen Bess Island north of Grand Isle. The newly restored island a Louisiana Gem and Brown Pelican rookery was dedicated in February. Now, 8000 pelicans call Queen Bess home.

Under the cover of darkness and a slight rain, a small group of wildlife experts arrived at the island to finish this year’s banding season. Caitlin Glymph of CPRA says, “It was amazing when we saw it in February but the amount of birds we saw then as opposed to now is pretty incredible.”

Three-hundred-fifty pelicans were banded over three nights. The banding process is simple.

Todd Baker of Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries states, “You are going to grab the bill, put the body of the bird under your arm, and cradle it like this and have the bill in other hand.”

Once secure, a metal band and color banding will be put in place. This will allow researchers to track and monitor these Brown Pelicans. The team took other measurements—bill and wing size, age, and gender.

Paul Link, North American Waterfowl Management Plan Coordinator, Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries, “We banded birds out here last year pre-restoration and then again this year hoping to see the response to see if the birds are coming back utilizing the same habitat.”

A Brown Pelican banded in Waveland, Mississippi in 2010 was recently identified on Queen Bess Island. 

If you see a banded bird or pelican, you can send a report to You will receive a Certificate of Appreciation for helping out.

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