9 May 2018
by Burak Özkırlı & Gui-Xi Young
A major stopover site of Europe’s Great White Pelicans has recently been discovered in Turkey. A count conducted by our Turkish partner Doğa Derneğishowed that more than 15,000 pelicans stop off at the Karacabey Floodplain to roost and feed during their spring migration.
The Sea of Marmara may be the smallest sea in the world, but it is now home to a very big discovery for bird lovers – a major stopover spot for more than 15,000 Great White Pelicans breaking up their epic spring migration journey. The site at the Karacabey Floodplain, in Turkey’s north-western region of Marmara, is of global significance because it holds at least half of the species European population during spring migration – and five percent of the world population. The wetland is now also considered important for other waterbird species such as Dalmatian Pelican and Glossy Ibis.
The discovery was made recently by Doğa Derneği (BirdLife Turkey) in the context of their ongoing work to safeguard migratory birds passing over the country along the Africa-Eurasia flyway. As part of their education and community outreach work on illegal bird killing – boosted in the last year thanks to funding by the 2017 Champions of the Flyway race – Doğa Derneği had been working in cooperation with the municipality of Karacabey and other local groups to co-organize a migratory bird monitoring event. Over these three days of systematic counting, the great pelican discovery was made!