At the end of August, a team from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) successfully captured and tagged an adult male Great White Pelican with a satellite transmitter in the Burgas Lake area. Furthermore, the team also affixed a ring to an adult female pelican of the same species.
This achievement marks the second instance of a Great White Pelican being tagged with a transmitter in Bulgaria. It’s worth recalling that in 2021, a Great White Pelican named Vaya became the country’s first pelican to be fitted with a transmitter.
The satellite transmitter device itself is incredibly lightweight, weighing only a few grams, and is strategically placed on a specialized area of the bird’s wing, causing no discomfort to the pelican. Remarkably, these tagged birds quickly adapt to the transmitters and continue their daily activities without any disruption.
Both pelicans were promptly released after the tagging procedure. Presently, data from the transmitter reveals that the tagged Great White Pelican is still within the vicinity, actively foraging in Burgas Lake and resting along the shores of Atanasovsko Lake.
The installation of transmitters on Great White Pelicans is a pioneering effort in Bulgaria and signifies a noteworthy advancement in the study of this species. Through the data collected from these rings and satellite telemetry, scientists can trace the movements of these birds, identifying areas where pelicans feed, rest, roost, migrate, winter, and breed. Furthermore, real-time data regarding their speed, altitude, and flight patterns can be obtained, providing valuable insights.
“Thanks to these transmitters, we will gain a deeper understanding of the ecology, movements, and threats faced by the species. This knowledge will be instrumental in planning and implementing future conservation measures”, said Svilen Cheshmedjiev, an ornithologist from BSPB. “With this latest addition, the total count of pelicans tagged with transmitters in Bulgaria now stands at eight, comprising two Great White Pelicans and six Dalmatian Pelicans.”
The activities related to the conservation of Dalmatian and on Great white pelicans are carried out within the framework of the “Pelican Way of LIFE“ initiative (LIFE18/NAT/NL/000716), funded by the LIFE Programme of the European Union and Arcadia Foundation, and with the assistance in Bulgaria of the Whitley Fund for Nature.