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Climate Change And Vanishing Islands Threaten Brown Pelicans

Raccoon Island, a Gulf of Mexico barrier island that is a nesting ground for brown pelicans, terns, seagulls and other birds, is seen form the leeward side in this aerial photo in Chauvin, La., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. A dozen years ago, there were 15 low-lying islands with nesting colonies of Louisiana’s state bird. But today, just six islands in the state harbor brown pelican nests — the rest have disappeared under water. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Raccoon Island, a Gulf of Mexico barrier island that is a nesting ground for brown pelicans, terns, seagulls and other birds, is seen form the leeward side in this aerial photo in Chauvin, La., Tuesday, May 17, 2022. A dozen years ago, there were 15 low-lying islands with nesting colonies of Louisiana’s state bird. But today, just six islands in the state harbor brown pelican nests — the rest have disappeared under water. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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Chauvin, La. (AP) -- Sliding off the side of her small boat, seabird biologist Bonnie Slaton wades through waist-high water, brown pelicans soaring overhead, until she reaches the shores of Raccoon Island.

During seabird breeding season, the place is a raucous symphony of noise and motion — and one of the few remaining refuges for the iconic pelicans.