With an average wingspan of more than 10-feet (3-m) and a mean weight of 25 lbs (11.5 kg), the threatened Dalmatian pelican is the world’s heaviest flying bird … and it’s dying from the cold.
“Rare Dalmatian pelicans, a threatened species, are dying of cold and hunger amid freezing weather in Russia’s usually warm Dagestan, where the birds are currently wintering,” says this article RiaNovosti.
The birds flew to Makhachkala last week from the frozen deltas of the Volga and Terek rivers up north.
Unfortunately, temperatures of minus 20-30C (-4 to -22 F) have swept Russia’s southern latitudes, leaving the Caspian Sea coated in a thick layer of ice.
An adult Dalmatian pelican requires at least 5 pounds (2.5 kg) of fish daily, which it scoops along with great masses of water out of the surface of the water, but the ice-covered sea prevents them from feeding.
About 20 birds have died of hunger despite hundreds of pounds of fish that Dagestan’s Nature Protection Ministry is buying each day to feed them, spokesman Arslan Dydymov said.
Fears are that their current number of about 500 (in this particular area) could shrink by half by the end of winter.
The current freeze in Europe is causing great damage to the environment,animals and birds. Imagine the uproar in the mainstream media if they were being killed by a record heat wave rather than by record cold.
Thanks to Stephanie Relfe and Lance Pidgeon for these links
“These birds are not just rare, they are threatened,” says Stephanie. “There are only 1,400 of them living in southern Russia, which is critically low … and they’re dying from the cold.”