Nonbreeding American White Pelican

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American White Pelican taking off in flight from water with reeds in background (sandra calderbank/

This NonBreeding American White Pelican caught me off guard when it suddenly took off from the water next to me while I was strolling around a lake. Their winter residency in Florida is limited to November through March. I saw this one in January. The “Snowbirds” of Florida are some of the world’s largest birds, and they love spending their winter in the beautiful weather of Florida. The American White Pelican migrates north during the summer to breed.



Wood Stork

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Close view of Wood Stork head and neck in evening light (sandra calderbank/

A tall wading bird, the Wood Stork has a massive wingspan. The Wood Stork is the sole stork that breeds in North America. The US Fish and Wildlife service considers them Federally threatened because of their small breeding and living area. Wetland water level changes make them vulnerable since they search for prey by feeling with their beak. Wood Storks have an uncommon appearance, featuring a bald scaly head, long beak, long legs, and a body shaped like a football. This one enabled me to capture a close head shot in the evening light. 

The Florida Scrub-Jay Sentinel

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Florida Scrub-Jay perched as sentinel (sandra calderbank/

Decreasing scrub oak habitat has caused this stunning blue Florida Scrub-Jay to be uncommon and listed as endangered. The only place this bird calls home is Florida. The entire group will change location if the low-growing scrub oaks reach a certain height. They form permanent monogamous bonds, and live in family groups. Until they find a territory of their own, the young remain and assist with feeding their siblings for several years. It’s typical for them to establish their own family territory near their hatching area. Each group has a sentinel bird appointed to guard against predators. This Scrub-Jay was acting as the sentinel perched on this small branch. The sentinel emits a distinct call when they perceive danger, signaling the rest of the family group to take cover.

Pair of Northern Gannets in flight

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Pair of Northern Gannets in flight (sandra calderbank/

A pair of Northern Gannets caught my attention as they were flying over the ocean near Machias Seal Island, which is 12 miles away from Grand Manan, New Brunswick. Colonies of these large and graceful seabirds breed on steep slopes or rocky cliffs of oceanic islands. They spend their remaining time on the sea. Northern Gannets are lifelong monogamous mates. I captured this image in mid June during breeding season, so I assume this pair is a couple.   




Pied-Billed Grebe with beak open, calling

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Pied-Billed Grebe in breeding colors swimming with beak open calling (sandra calderbank/

The Pied-Billed Grebe in breeding colors has a black stripe on its beak and a black throat patch which makes them unique. This Pied-Billed Grebe’s call alerted me to its presence long before I saw it. I noticed the Pied-Billed Grebe in the middle of the pond with its beak open, revealing the source of the sound. They are small and chunky and have almost no tail. Pied-Billed Grebes typically dive for food, but they may also chase other birds during breeding season while keeping just their eyes and nostrils above water.