Just you and me, White Pelican

IMG_0744I was all alone on Black Point Drive at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge one recent chilly morning, when this lone White Pelican suddenly swooped in overhead.IMG_0745As they migrate south over Florida during the winter, these huge Pelicans are most often seen in groups, sometimes filling the sky as massive flocks glide by over the water. With a wingspan of up to 9+ feet, they are among the largest North American birds (Florida Fish and Wildlife). So spotting this lone bird – with no one else around – was a real treat!In fact, I’m convinced it was heading right over to the shoreline to greet me, with that large, charming smile 😉We often envision pelicans plunging into the water headfirst to scoop up fish, as do the Brown Pelicans, who are year-round Florida residents. The White Pelicans, however, work together – they “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.” (All About Birds) This particular bird was not at all interested in eating at the moment, though  . . . Just floated lazily by so I could admire its graceful beauty!

To learn more, click on this link (Boreal Birds) for an excellent overview and description of these wonderful, gregarious birds!

26 thoughts on “Just you and me, White Pelican

  1. Great shots of a beautiful Pelican BJ, it looks quite similar to our Aussie Pelican which is mostly white, but yours is more pure white in colour. This is a great bird to capture reflection shots in still water. I have some amazing shots, I could see early morning shots of your White Pelican would give amazing shots with reflection, when their is no breeze to sir the water.

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  2. Amazing photographs! I saw a pelican for the first time in India- the Grey Pelican. I did not witness them fish, and the line you wrote sums up my encounter with them- “Just floated lazily by so I could admire its graceful beauty!”

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  3. I also have a lone white pelican on a small lake by my home in Florida. His bill is pale which I read somewhere might mean that he is a juvenile? 5 other pelicans visit daily but even when they are on the lake, he doesn’t fish with them and he follows a group of cormorants instead. Unless he gets in a flock and goes north in a group, he won’t make it, will he? I guess it’s silly but I’m worried about this lone white pelican. He does appear fine though. Any thoughts?????

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    • I wish I could say I knew more about white pelicans. It does seem odd that he would follow other birds, when there are more Pelicans are around, especially because they hunt cooperatively in groups. Sounds like he’s managing well, tho!


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