Photo: Vladimir Mladenov

At the end of August, a team from the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds (BSPB) successfully captured and tagged with a satellite transmitter an adult male Great white pelican in the Burgas Lake area. Additionally, the team managed to ring an adult female pelican of the same species. This marks the second Great white pelican with a transmitter in Bulgaria. Recall that in 2021, a Great white pelican named Vaya became the first of its species to be tagged with a transmitter in the country.

The device itself weighs only a few grams and is placed on a specialized area of the bird’s wing, causing no discomfort to the bird. Marked birds quickly adapt to the transmitters and can carry out their daily activities without any issues.

Both pelicans were immediately released after the procedure. Currently, data from the transmitter shows that the tagged Great white pelican is still in the area, actively feeding in Burgas Lake, and roosting along the banks of Atanasovsko Lake.

The placement of transmitters on Great white pelican is a first in Bulgaria and represents a significant advancement in the study of this species. Through data collected from the rings and satellite telemetry, scientists can track the movements of these birds and locate areas where pelicans feed, roost, rest, migrate, winter, and breed. Additionally, valuable data regarding their speed, altitude, and flight patterns, in real-time, can be obtained. Thanks to these transmitters, we will gain more insights into the ecology, movements, and threats to the species, which will aid in planning and implementing future conservation measures.

With this addition, the total number of pelicans tagged with transmitters in Bulgaria is eight – 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 project (LIFE18/NAT/NL/000716), funded by the LIFE Programme of the European Union and with the assistance of the Whitley Fund for Nature.