Surveys and bird counts

Great Pelican Count

  • Date Sunday, 2 April 2023
  • Locations Gippsland Lakes, Mallacoota
Register to take part in the survey

The Great Pelican Count

BirdLife Australia’s Great Pelican Count is an annual citizen scientist event that invites people of all ages and abilities to survey pelicans. We aim to conduct 30-minute pelican surveys at various sites across the Gippsland Lakes and fringing wetlands, all simultaneously on the same day.

The resulting information from these surveys allows us to record changes in Gippsland’s pelican populations, contributing to better management and protection for these majestic waterbirds.

Where do I do my surveys?

Anybody in East Gippsland can participate in The Great Pelican Count. You can count pelicans from the land, from a kayak or from a boat at any of our nominated locations – anywhere from the Gippsland Lakes to Mallacoota.

What’s the Purpose of The Great Pelican Count?

This event provides you with the opportunity to collect information which will help conserve Australian Pelicans.

The Gippsland Lakes provide a refuge for nomadic pelicans during times of drought, and they are home to one of only two remaining permanent breeding colonies of pelicans in Victoria (there used to be ten such colonies).

Pelicans are highly mobile birds, moving to and from the coast in response to rainfall – but we don’t know how many leave the Lakes or where they go – and that’s where you can help.

Results from The Great Pelican Count provide insight into population fluctuations from year to year. This valuable information also feeds into the larger BirdLife Australia Gippsland Lakes Pelican Project – funded by the Love Our Lakes program – which is a long-term monitoring program that will protect pelicans and the Lakes for future generations.

About the Great Pelican Count

This annual event helps BirdLife Australia to quantify the changes in pelican numbers across the Gippsland Lakes, and encourages people of all ages to help one of Australia’s most recognisable birds.

We encourage everyone to sign up for a monitoring site. Make an afternoon of it by packing a picnic lunch and inviting your family and friends to enjoy the beautiful lakes – and the pelicans!

How do I get involved?

1. Register your interest by Wednesday 29 March to monitor a site in the 2023 Great Pelican Count.

2. Tell your family, friends and colleagues about the Great Pelican Count.

3. Start counting any pelicans at your site during the allocated timeframe. This year, the count is being conducted on Sunday 2 April.