Hungry Birds

Brown Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, American White Pelicans, a Great Egret in the morning of 9/26/22

Little fish must have been running in the North Basin this morning. Three kinds of fish-eaters were busy foraging: Brown Pelicans, White Pelicans, and Double-crested Cormorants. A lone Great Egret in the video came to see what the excitement was about.

The first White Pelicans numbered only four. They scooped close enough to the rip-rap on the east side of the park that their beaks almost bumped into the rocks. Then they roamed a bit farther out, and not finding this fulfilling, flew off eastward across the North Basin to the opposite shore. They seemed to coordinate their wingbeats to a great extent.

Meanwhile a flock of about two dozen Brown Pelicans worked the waters near the Open Circle Viewpoint, and headed southward. It looked like they were following the lead of a gang of more than a dozen Double-crested Cormorants. Pelicans and cormorants ignored one another. Even though they were competing for the same prey, nobody pecked or flicked a wing at anybody, that I could see.

When the Brown Pelicans and their cormorant pilots had passed, a second flock of White Pelicans, eight in number, approached on the same route. They traveled without cormorants.

Everybody was working hard, but I saw very little in the way of fish being caught. The cormorants seemed to be doing best. The pelicans had the occasional meal. The fish might have got the message and gone deep and out of there as fast as their little fins could carry them.

Great Egret looks on as White Pelicans work the water’s edge, normally its territory

White Pelicans working as a team

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3 thoughts on “Hungry Birds

  • This is such a special post. White pelicans visiting Chavez Park marks a good luck signal for all of us who love the park!

  • That is a great video. Thanks so much. In the past 10 years I’ve seen tons of brown pelicans… but not white pelicans. Is there an explanation of why the white pelicans have arrived?

  • This is such an amazing video. Thank you so much for your patience and glorious cinematography.

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