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Monday, November 2, 2009

~~~American White Pelican~~~

The American White Pelican in Arkansas

Yesterday was a beautiful day and while enjoying the outside we noticed around 20 or more American White Pelicans swimming in the river behind our site... They are on their way to Florida or Texas where they spend the winter months. During the summer they go up to South Dakota, Canada and a few other northwestern states...



It is a very large and plump bird & has a wingspan of about 95–120 in and weighs between 11 and 20 lb. The plumage is almost entirely bright white, except the black on their wings, which are hardly visible except in flight. From early spring until after breeding has finished in mid-late summer, the breast feathers have a yellowish hue. After moulting into the eclipse plumage, the upper head often has a grey hue, as blackish feathers grow between the small wispy white crest. The bill is long and flat, with a large throat sac, and in the breeding season vivid orange like the iris, the bare skin around the eye, and the feet. In the breeding season, there is a laterally flattened "horn" on the upper bill, about one-third the bill's length behind the tip. This is shed off after the birds have mated and laid their eggs, and outside the breeding season the bare parts become duller in color, with the facial skin yellow and the bill, pouch and feet an orangy-flesh color. Apart from the difference in size, males and females look exactly alike. Immature birds have light grey plumage with darker brownish nape and remiges. Their bare parts are dull grey. Hatchlings are naked at first, then grow white down feathers all over, before moulting to immature plumage.
Here is a migration map of the American White Pelican
When we were in South Dakota last summer I saw the American White Pelicans flying around... Ralph thought I was crazy seeing them but as we later found out this is where they come to nest during the summer... The American White Pelican is one of the largest birds found in South Dakota. They are migrants through most of the state, but do nest in some of the northeastern counties. Unlike their cousins, the Brown Pelican, American White Pelicans do not plunge dive, but feed by dipping their large pouched bill into the water and scooping up fish. Note the raised bump on the top of the beak (shown in bird to the right) is only present during the breeding season.
Until Later

25 comments:

Darla said...

Good info and great photos!

Rick and Paulette said...

Great pictures and lots of good info, Donna - thanks! The white pelican is one of the birds that we don't see here on Vancouver Island so it was nice to see so many in their natural habitat.

Stacey said...

Hi Donna! How cool to see pelicans. I don't think I've ever actually seen them in person.

I know you are having fun!

Joe and Sherri said...

Hey girl looks like you have the best of it! How long will you be in that area? From what I read your close to the kids? Have a great day and keep us up to date on what is going on.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

That is just amazing! My sister lives in AR..I'll tell her to be on the look out! Great photos!

Chuck-Kathy said...

Great pictures. Enjoy reading your blog, thanks for sharing.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Donna, what a great post! I love pelicans, and I wonder if any of those will make it to Central Florida. I used to live there, and there is a lake where you see them all out there bobbing around on given weeks. It's a bird sanctuary, and the pelicans know to stop there for some reason. It's sort of in the middle of a residential area on a busy lake, but they seem to love it.

You have the absolute neatest adventures.

XO,

Sheila :-)

Hootin' Anni said...

What I've heard from the 'native folk' around here, they are a rare species to see in our neck of the woods. Hopefully, now that you informed me that they're heading our way, I'll keep a sharp eye!!

They're beautiful. And so graceful even if they 'look klutzy'.

^..^Corgidogmama said...

Awesome photos...are you heading to Florida soon?
You've sure been to some terrific places lately.
So glad for you. It's killing us to see the corgi doghouse on wheels parked...last year at this time we were seeing shows in Branson. Whaaaaaaa!!

Margie M. said...

What fantastic and beautiful birds. I've seen a pelican or two in my day, but never so many in one spot. Great photos.

Wandering Willy said...

Very Interesting blog,Donna.I didnt realize the white pelicans had that large a range.I've enjoyed watching them at the Salton Sea in California, and the odd one in our interior lakes in BC.
I get a kick out of them waiting for the gulls to catch a fish,then they steal from the gulls.

Pelican Lights said...

I never knew that pelicans gathered together and flew in flocks. Every time I have seen one, it has always been alone and with no others around. I think the migration map is a great idea too. Unfortunately we don't get any White Pelicans in New England, but it makes it more exciting when I go on vacation. Great pictures. I think they are National Geographic worthy.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

You certainly know your pelicans! They are majestic! We lived in south Florida for awhile and saw them frequently. Not so much here in the midwest....unless they are lost!

Angie said...

That is so neat that you got to see them! I love seeing beautiful animals in nature like that!

Tootsie said...

aren't they gorgeous birds? thanks for the info!

Justine said...

Whoa, interesting stuff, Donna! These birds look so goofy while sitting on the water, but when they're in flight they're majestic!

Justine :o )

SmilingSally said...

Fascinating, Donna.

Baba's Special Babies said...

Good afternoon Donna, thanks for sharing these great pictures and the history behind the White Pelicans..I always enjoy hearing from you.I love the long beaks and wings on this bird.They look very graceful.Continue to have a fun trip with Hubby.... hugs, Baba

Happytrails said...

Great pictures of the American White Pelican!! We saw those in Oct. when we volunteered at Hagerman. They are just beautiful birds and they just glisten when flying.
What camera were you using??

Ginger said...

I love seeing these pictures. Pretty neat. We had 2 bald eagles soaring over our house yesterday but I couldn't get my camera out fast enough for a picture.
Thank you sweet Donna for the comments you left for me on my blog.

Kristens Creations said...

Hey there Donna! I have never seen those pelicans around here. They are awesome! I hope you're having fun here in my neck of the woods! Your only a few miles away...We've been having some beautiful days lately,I hope they continue. We will be driving to Fayetteville in the morning for Kevin's appointment. We were there recently, but I bet the trees are even prettier now. Take care! Kristen

Shelia said...

Hi Dear Donna! Oh, I just love the pelicans. Hopefully some are heading here. We do have some. We used to see more before the hurricane!
Thanks for popping in to see me.
Be a sweetie,
shelia;)

Cheryl said...

Wow! I didn't know these birds were so big. Thanks for stopping by and saying hello.

PEA said...

I've never seen a real pelican, only in pictures. I didn't even realize that they can be seen even in Canada but by looking at the map I see that it's our western provinces that get them. Such a shame they don't fly north for me to see them! lol Beautiful pictures my friend. xoxo

dAwN said...

Wow..thats allot of pelicans..I am trying to catch up with my blog reading..you certainly have been busy. Great photos!

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