This article submits materials on numbers and distribution of non-breeding concentrations of White Pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus) over a long-term period from 1930s and till the present time. A special attention is given to those reasons, which induced increase in bird numbers at the reserved bays. The article contains materials on actual dates of migrations, numbers and distribution of non-breeding concentrations of White Pelican. There are also considered problems of necessary management directed at protection of this species in the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve.
Years ago the White Pelican bred on islands of Tendrovskiy Bay. Now they are included in the territory of the Black Sea Reserve (Brauner, 1898, Podushkin, 1912; Klimenko, 1950). From 1950s to the early 1980s Pelicans were very rare in the territory and observed as nomadic birds in spring-summer period. At the end of '80s the numbers of nomadic birds at the reserved bays had grown and by the early '90s they already consisted of 500-600 individuals (Ardamatskaya, Rudenko, 1996).
For 75 years' existence of the Reserve (1927-2002) it is possible to emphasize three periods of increasing numbers of non-breeding concentrations of White Pelicans (Table 1, Fig. 2). The data for '20s and 30s are absent. The 1940s -1970s were years, characterized by irregular nomadic movements and migrations with low numbers.
From the late '70s to the middle '80s Pelicans occurred even more rarely. Birds started being regularly observed at Tendrovskiy and Yagorlytskiy Bays only from the middle '80s. The second half of 1980s was a period of stable and slow increase of bird numbers at the bays. In those years birds regularly rested on the Novye Islands, isls. Tendra, Smalenyy and Babin, Potiyevskiy Islands in Tendrovskiy Bay and on Dolgyy and Kruglyy Islands in Yagorlytskiy Bay. Over that period their maximal numbers reached up to 250-300 individuals. Recently (1990-2001) numbers of White Pelicans increased to 2000 adult individuals, in 2001 they were about 4,000 birds. In 2002-2004 the numbers decreased to 1500-1300 individuals.
In the shallow eastern part of Tendrovskiy Bay the Pelicans more often occur in May - June. The earliest and the latest records of the species are registered on 13 April, 1999 and 3 May, 1994. For the last years, when Pelicans began breeding successfully, the periods of their arrival on islands became earlier: 15-18 April (1999-2001) (Table 2). At Yagorlytskiy Bay the birds arrive 1-2 weeks later than at Tendrovskiy Bay. In autumn at the reserved bays the Pelicans are nomadic up to late September - early October, and only some groups and single individuals stayed there till 31 October.
Management and conservation of White Pelican in the Black Sea Biosphere Reserve should be aimed at attracting this species for breeding and cover several directions: 1. Management and conservation of potential breeding places. It means practical actions and biotechnical measures, directed at improving nesting conditions of the White Pelican on the islands of Tendrovskiy (Orlov, Novye, Babin, Smalenyy, Potiyevskiye) and Yagorlytskiy (Konskiy Islands) Bays. Among them is liquidation of four-footed predators (foxes, raccoons, vagrant dogs and cats) which remain on islands after winter, and disinfestation of islands of Yagorlytskiy Bay. 2. Preparation of breeding territory: clearing vegetation. Taking into account that the Great Cormorant is a species of social attraction for the White Pelican, it is planned to guard Cormorants colonies in places of their concentration and in probable nesting places of the Pelicans. 3. Other very important direction in conservation of these Pelicans is an ecological education and awareness of the local population and professional fishermen. Such activity is necessary to give a correct comprehension of the role of piscivorous birds, especially White Pelicans, in water areas of South Ukraine. It will assist to change a local ideology and explain that birds cannot do a great harm for fish stocks and are not competitors for fishermen. Publishing of a great number of leaflets, colourful booklets, reading lectures, carrying out excursions in a museum and nature will help to mitigate an aggressive attitude toward piscivorous birds.Read the paper in a PDF file