Great Pelican Count on again!

Save the date everyone because the Gippsland Lakes Great Pelican Count is on Sunday 2 April 2023 from 11.30am – 12 noon.   

The annual citizen science event run by BirdLife Australia asks people to register for an allocated site and then spend a mere 30 minutes counting and recording the pelicans they see.   

Now in its fifth year, the count is an easy way for the community to unite to count the iconic pelicans from the land, kayaks and boats at nominated locations.  

This year will once again also include counts from the Mallacoota area. Results collected at each site contribute to the bigger picture of understanding the pelicans of the Gippsland Lakes and their ongoing conservation. 

“This event is a great way for individuals, friends, and families to be involved in citizen science. Results record changes in the population to help us better manage and protect these birds,” says project coordinator Deb Sullivan, East Gippsland Conservation Coordinator for BirdLife Australia. 

“Like our human census, the Great Pelican Count takes a snapshot survey of just 30 minutes at various sites across the Gippsland Lakes, Mallacoota and fringing wetlands – it is a record of who is home and what is happening at that point in time.” 

“The pelicans have had good breeding success over the past wetter years. This will be an important year for people to get involved and help play their part in the Gippsland Lakes Pelican story and we are happy to welcome counters from Mallacoota once again.”  

 “I love seeing the community embrace the pelicans and the count so enthusiastically. Pelicans are an important and iconic bird for the Lakes and are especially significant for the Traditional Owners.” 

“We encourage everyone to help the pelicans and get involved by signing up for a monitoring site. Make an afternoon of it by packing a picnic so family and friends can get out and enjoy the beautiful lakes and environment.”  

All counters need to register online by 29 March to be allocated a location and receive all the details you need. 

Gippsland Lakes is home to one of only two remaining permanent breeding rookeries in Victoria.  

Results contribute to the larger the BirdLife Australia Gippsland Lakes Pelican Project funded by the Love Our Lakes program, a long-term monitoring program involving colour banding and tracking of the birds. 

This project is part of a $248 million investment by the Victorian Government to improve the health of waterways and catchments. Of this, $7.5 million is being provided to improve the health of Gippsland Lakes over three years (2021-2024), through support to the Gippsland Lakes Coordinating Committee and for the delivery of on-ground works and community engagement.