Pelican Handling

Identification | Biology | Damage ID | Management | Handling


Pelicans are large birds; be careful when approaching live birds. Pelicans have sharp edges along their upper bill. One of the pelican’s defense mechanisms is to snap or bite. The edges of the bill can cause knife-like cuts. Always first grab a live pelican by its bill (both upper and lower) using one hand and do not allow the bill to move in your hand. Remember that the bird cannot go anywhere without its bill and head.


Only two known attempts have been made to relocate pelicans from a damage site. Both attempts had good short-term success but long-term usefulness is not known. Pelicans captured and relocated 12 miles from one aquaculture facility did not return to the facility for at least 3 weeks.


Not known. 


Euthanasia recommendations are intended to serve as guidelines, and they require the use of professional judgment for specific situations. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of those carrying out euthanasia to assure that it is done in the most humane manner possible. Shooting, decapitation, exsanguination, chemicals (carbon dioxide, lethal injections), and blunt force trauma (stunning) to the base of the skull, followed by cervical dislocation are approved methods of euthanasia for large birds, such as pelicans.


Check your local, state, and federal regulations regarding carcass disposal.

Egg Oiling or Addling

Any nest removal, egg oiling, or addling activities in nesting colonies is regulated by the USFWS and state/provincial agencies.