The fourth Southeastern European Pelican Census took place on 15th May 2021. It aimed at gathering information about the number and distribution of the endangered species Pelecanus crispus (Dalmatian pelican) and Pelecanus onocrotalus (Great white pelican) in the region. The event was organized within the project “Pelican Way of LIFE” and was coordinated by the Hellenic ornithological society (HOS).
Teams from Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds (BSPB) also participated in the international initiative. They visited the wetlands that are of greatest importance to the two pelican species in Bulgaria – Srebarna Lake, Persin Island, protected area “Kalimok-Brashlen”, Burgas Lakes, the dams Ovcharitsa and Rozov Kladenets, Varna lake, the island near Gorni Tsibar and others.
513 Dalmatian and 575 Great white pelicans in total were counted in Bulgaria. The greatest number of Dalmatian pelicans were observed in the swamps on Persin Island – 176 birds, Studen Kladenets dam – 118 birds, and Lake Srebarna – 70 birds. The greatest number of Great white pelicans were observed in Rozov Kladenets dam – 211, Burgas Lake – 100, and in the area of the mouth of Fakiiska River – 85 birds. During the Census special attention was paid to the four nesting colonies of Dalmatian pelicans in Bulgaria – Srebarna Lake, Peschina swamp, Dead Marsh and protected area “Kalimok-Brashlen”. At the first two sites our teams observed young pelicans, while in the later two nesting sites we are still looking forward to the hatchlings.
The data gathered will contribute to the better knowledge of the two pelican species and to the conservation activities in Southeast Europe. Trans border cooperation is of key importance for the protection of these birds.
The actions for protecting the Dalmatian pelican are carried out within the project “Pelican Way of LIFE” (LIFE18/NAT/NL/000716), funded by the LIFE Programme of the European Union and with the assistance of the Whitlеy Fund for Nature.