Posts Tagged: American White Pelican

Nonbreeding American White Pelican

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

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.

 

 

American White Pelican

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The beautiful  American White Pelican is one of our largest birds in North American. They have a NINE and a half foot wingspan and can weigh 15 or more pounds!  This breeding adult is soaring in flight.  The adult breeding colors include the yellow chest feathers and the yellow plate on it’s upper bill which it loses after breeding. Despite their strong flight abilities, they are very awkward on land. I was surprised to learn that they migrate, only spending winters in Florida.  In the summer this beauty travels to the interior of Western Canada and the North Western US, where they breed and form colonies on fresh water lakes.  It was a treat getting to view this breeding adult as the group prepared to travel north from Florida.

Coming in for a Landing

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 (SandraCalderbank, sandra calderbank)

If you live in an area where these immense birds are common this is not an unusual find, but for me this was an exciting photo capture. These birds have an enormous wingspan and this one looks like it is skiing as it is landing right in front of me. I think he is putting his best foot forward. What do you think?