Pelicans or Pterodactyls?

Pelicans are really common birds in many parts of the country, but to a New Englander they are extremely exotic!  I lived in Southern California years ago, but I was still in awe of these strangely prehistoric looking birds.

In the United States, there are both Brown Pelicans and White Pelicans. Despite his white head feathers, the pelican directly overhead is a Brown Pelican.  Brown Pelicans are the only US pelican that dives headfirst into the water to catch fish - which we watched this bird do over and over again!

Also, Brown Pelicans are rarely if ever found far from the coast.  White Pelicans are often seen in inland waters, where they hunt communally by standing in shallow water and herding the fish into their bills.  White pelicans are larger, but I think these Brown Pelicans are magnificent!

 Their aerial antics are a wonder to behold - espescially when they fly in formation (see below).

We even saw a whole group of migrating pelicans flying in a V formation - right from our hotel window!  That was simply unbelievable!

We saw the larger American White pelicans in Nevada, but I was too far away to capture good images.  One reason they were staying well away from humans was the fact that hunting season had started the very day we arrived.  We were birding to the sound of rifle retorts, which explains why we didn't get many waterfowl images up close and personal!

1 comment:

  1. Hi there -- I was driving down Mishawum Road in Woburn, MA last fall and I SWEAR there was a pelican flying next to my car for about 20 seconds, then it lifted off and went ahead (I was stopped at a light.) I have a convertible so could see the bird very clearly. I was shocked and thought these birds a) aren't around here b) would not be near traffic. Very, very strange. I thought maybe the bird escaped from the Stone Zoo or something!! Thank you for your pic - it helped me identify exactly what I saw.


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