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Banding Pelicans Can be Dirty Work, but Rewarding

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CORRELL, Minn. (AP) – If you’re going to clamp aluminum tracking bands on squawking pelican chicks, be prepared to get scratched, bitten and covered in dusty droppings.

But a crew of banders at Marsh Lake in western Minnesota says the risks are minor compared to the thrill of being up close to such large, majestic-looking birds.

A report says a nine-person crew recently banded about 360 birds. It’s part of an effort to understand how the pelicans travel and breed.

Jeff DiMatteo is a bird bander with the state Department of Natural Resources. He says it’s a challenge to manage the large birds, which can’t fly yet. He says banders have to approach in a slow crouch, but if they move too fast the chicks could panic and trample each other to death.

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