A flock of Great American Pelicans is visiting our lake. I’m a city girl; so watching them has been a treat for me. The days are cloudy and gray; but I had to try taking a few photos anyway.
Pelicans are amazingly graceful flyers and their landings on the water were impressive.
According to the Cornell Lab – All About Birds; Pelicans forage by swimming on the surface, dipping their bills to scoop up fish, then raising their bills to drain water and swallow their prey. They also forage cooperatively: groups of birds dip their bills and flap their wings to drive fish toward shore, corraling prey for highly efficient, synchronized, bill-dipping feasts.
Pelicans are one of the largest birds in North American. They can weigh up to 30 pounds with a wing span of between 96 and 114 inches. Their length ranges between 50 and 65 inches.
A few Interesting Facts about Pelicans
- American White Pelicans eat mostly small fish that occur in shallow wetlands, such as minnows, carp, and suckers. Schooling fish smaller than one half their bill length predominate, though they will take sluggish bottom feeders, salamanders, tadpoles, and crayfish.
- American White Pelicans must provide roughly 150 pounds of food to nourish a chick from its birth to the time it’s ready to forage on its own.
- Contrary to cartoon portrayals and common misconceptions, pelicans never carry food in their bill pouches. They use them to scoop up food but swallow their catch before flying off. Cornell Lab – All About Birds