Fifteen White Pelicans

American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

American White Pelicans, rarely seen here in past years, have become almost constant visitors late this summer. One day I saw a group of eight, then a tight bunch of five, and on this occasion (video above) there were fifteen. They foraged energetically in the North Basin, the way they do, by dipping their bills underwater, sometimes raising their rear ends up high like a dabbling duck. That done, they gathered in shallow water near the Schoolhouse Creek outfall and set about preening. With a long beak it’s impossible for them to preen their own heads or most of their neck. They could easily help each other out, but I saw no instance of allopreening (one bird preening another). They’re very cooperative in foraging and seem very social all around, but preening remains a private matter, each bird for itself. All of the birds on this day were past the breeding period; I did not see the round “horn” that both males and females grow on the top of their beaks when in breeding mode. All of these birds seemed healthy and energetic.

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3 thoughts on “Fifteen White Pelicans

  • September 10, 2022 at 1:27 pm
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    The Bay’s Swans!

    Nothing could make me happier. In 2020, I accompanied a dear friend to all of her chemo treatments in a high rise medical building above the Embarcadero. We watched flocks of pelicans floating below us, cruising the Bay shoreline, as her line went drip drip drip.

    Pelicans and friendship forever.

  • September 9, 2022 at 9:17 pm
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    I love watching these spectacular birds!!

  • September 9, 2022 at 9:10 pm
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    Great video. Thanks.

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