Shift Change

Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) in foreground with Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) in background

The North Basin looked like Pelican Pond in the early morning hours. Once again, dozens of Brown Pelicans flew in and settled on the water, looking for schools of fish not far below the surface. When one cluster of the big birds struck gold, other pelicans that were scattered at various points flew to the hot spot and made a feeding frenzy. But that didn’t last long; the supply was limited. More and more of the long-billed pescatarians took off and flew west. Just then, dozens of Canada geese flew in and made an aquatic procession near the eastern shore of the cove. What attracted them is unclear. They’ll occasionally eat very small fish, but they’re mainly herbivores. They may dabble for seaweed. They don’t compete for food with the pelicans. Maybe they came just to see what all the excitement was about.

Brown Pelicans and Canada Geese weigh about the same, in the neighborhood of 8 lbs on average. The pelican has a wingspan of about 7 feet, while the goose spans about one foot smaller, on the average. The two species ignored one another.

This gathering of the big birds took place in the week before the death of a Canada goose from collision with the high voltage wire that runs north-south along Marina Boulevard. The same cable runs east-west along the Virginia Street extension, across a major flyway for the geese when they are headed to or coming from the South Sailing Basin. (See map.) It’s surprising, in hindsight, that there have been no other reported bird kills on this high voltage transmission line. In this regard, isn’t it about time that the Hilton went solar? Acres of rooftop just begging for solar panels.

Brown Pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis) in foreground with Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) in background

More about Brown Pelicans Wikipedia Cornell Audubon In Chavez Park
More about Canada Geese Wikipedia  Cornell Audubon In Chavez Park.

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