Many Pelicans

The minus 1.19 low tide in the morning brought out a large number of pelicans, including the rarely seen here American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) shown in photographer James Kusz’s video above. Brown pelicans are often seen hunting from the air and dive-bombing onto their targets. Here they demonstrate a different technique, paddling and dipping their huge beaks underwater like a scoop and sometimes coming up with something worth swallowing. The white pelicans are quite a bit larger and heavier than the brown, and don’t dive-bomb; they only scoop as here.

How many pelicans were present? It must have been well over a hundred. Shortly after I arrived on the scene, the birds took to the air. As the video below shows, they circled around in what seemed a chaotic manner, but in a few minutes most of them formed up into an extended V shape, heading south. Not a single pelican remained on the water.

These birds’ organizational ability continues to amaze me. How do they all come together in this place at this time, how do they all decide that it’s time to head out, and how do they organize into a flying formation?

Pelicans in flight (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos and Pelecanus occidentalis)

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One thought on “Many Pelicans

  • June 25, 2020 at 9:11 am
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    Cool! i love it.
    I wonder if the white ones only mate with white ones…and the grey with grey….

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