Important Bird Areas

Bird Island- American White Pelican Nesting Colony

Wyoming

Bird Island American White Pelican Nesting Colony is located at Pathfinder Reservoir, about 70km northeast of Rawlins, WY, east of Hwy 287. The nesting island is 1788m in elevation and when the reservoir reaches stroage capacity the relief of the island is 4.9m at its highest point. The soil on the island is a light sandy loam, and predominant vegetation consists of silver sage, rubber rabbitbrush, and sand dock. Other common plants found on the nesting island include plains cottonwood, spanish bayonet and willow spp. The island lies within Pathfinder Reservoir which is a man made reservoir created for irrigation. Climate is harsh with year-round westerly winds, low winter temperatures, and high summer temperatures. Rainfall is less than 15 inches per year.

Ornithological Summary

The American White Pelicans use the area for nesting. The area contains more than 1% of the world?s breeding population of American White Pelicans and therefore has not only been designated an IBA in Wyoming but a Globally Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy. Double-crested Cormorants, Great Blue Herons, California Gull?s and Caspian Terns also use the area to nest.

Conservation Issues

The area is used for irrigation water, therefore drought also is a threat. Also, boating near the island disturbs the birds.

Habitat

The area contains more than 1% of the world?s breeding population of American White Pelicans and therefore has not only been designated an IBA in Wyoming but a Globally Important Bird Area by the American Bird Conservancy. Double-crested Cormorants, Great Blue Herons, California Gull?s and Caspian Terns also use the area to nest. The island habitat lies within Pathfinder Reservoir which is a man made reservoir created for irrigation. The climate is harsh with year-round westerly winds, low winter temperatures, and 80-90? summer temperatures. The area receives less than 15 inches of precipitation per year. The nesting island is 5,866 feet in elevation and when the reservoir reaches capacity the relief of the island is 16 feet at its highest point. The soil on the island is a light sandy loam. The predominant vegetation is silver sage, rubber rabbitbrush, and sand dock.

Land Use

Major threat of recreational development/overuse (boating and hunting). Other potential threats include irrigation and drought.