Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Watery Wednesday--Brown Pelicans

While I was in Texas in February I enjoyed watching the Brown Pelicans. They are coastal birds, so we don’t see them in Nebraska. The difference in how American white pelicans and Brown pelicans forage and feed particularly interested me. American white pelicans feed by swimming, usually in a group , dipping their pouched bill for fish.

The Brown pelican forages by plunge-diving from heights up to 65 feet or 20m. The Brown pelicans I observed perched on piers or rock formations. Quoting from the Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior

When diving, a Brown Pelican first brings its legs in against its body and retracts its head, then slowly extends the neck and angles the wings backward. The head remains stable during these maneuvers, so that the bird can sight prey along the length of its bill.

On contact with the water, the pelican draws back its wings and opens its bill, centering the prey between its jaws. Its pouch distends rapidly to an enormous size, capable of holding about 21 pints (10 liters), or about 17 ½ pounds (8 kg) of water, and closes around the fish.









Check out other Watery Wednesday photos

17 comments:

Rob Ripma said...

Great series of shots! Very cool.

ewok1993 said...

That is really a great series of shots. Nice write up too.

Gill - That British Woman said...

what a super series of shots....

Gill in Canada

Margaret's Ramblings said...

Wonderful pics,you have told a story with these.

Margaret

Mojo said...

Great photos and a fascinating look at how they do what they do.

VALKYRIEN said...

Great shots! I am always so envious of you people, when you manage to shoot birds spreading their wings! I'm always too late!

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Nice photos. I would LOVE to watch pelicans fishing.

A New England Life said...

Incredible wingspan on that bird! So beautiful too. Not sure I've ever seen a Pelican in the wild but I've always thought they looked quite prehistoric, don't you think?

Pagan Sphinx said...

These are especially nice in their larger versions. Pelicans are so cool.

Kallen305 said...

Love all of the shots!! Really good photography!

2sweetnsaxy said...

These are amazing shots! I like photographing the brown pelicans. I love watching them dive bomb into the water. Would love to see the white pelicans one day.

Beautiful said...

Thank you for this. The info is awesome. So are the pictures.

Blossom said...

Great! Taking their photos must have been great too.

nessabates said...

I love photographing pelicans! These are some great shots!

floreta said...

great shots of him taking flight and in flight!

Mariz said...

Great capture and I learned something new today, thanks!

Janie said...

Great photos of the pelicans. Interesting to see how they feed.