Rare Pelicans

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

Park visitor Susan Black was in the right place at the right time and captured these cell phone images of a little flock of White Pelicans. They are rarely seen here, although not unknown. This half dozen flew in at a very low tide where the deepest water near the shore was the channel of Schoolhouse Creek (map). They have a huge wingspan, which may extend to ten feet, second only to the California Condor. It takes about four pounds of fish a day to keep them fed. They forage by dipping their bills and scooping up fish. They don’t plunge-dive like the smaller Brown Pelicans. They’re known to cooperate in foraging, by spreading out and driving fish toward shallow water where it’s easier to catch them. They spend the winter near the coast but breed inland in summer, probably west of the Rockies, and usually start their spring migration right about this time. Susan was lucky to catch them; they’ll soon be gone, if not gone already.

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2 thoughts on “Rare Pelicans

  • Pingback: Pelican Morning

  • May 26, 2022 at 7:39 pm

    Wow! I had no idea of the differences between these beauties and their cousins the brown pelicans which fly in perfect form diving for their food. Thanks for the info (as always)!

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