Saturday, March 26, 2011

The American White Pelican

This time of year is fantastic for birding as so many waterfowl and other bird species are moving north. Our family has been able to take a number of enjoyable birding outings together the past month, and on a recent outing to a local conservation area, we were treated to an amazing display of American White Pelicans. Hundreds of pelicans were in the conservation area . . . often sitting in large groups, sometimes taking off and flying in long 'trains' in their characteristic, undulating flight pattern, and sometimes only a small flock would fly over in a v-formation. It was an incredible experience!


My camera was very busy during our time there (and with capturing more than just pelicans :), and many a time, Daddy quickly pulled to a stop so I could open the door, stand on the door frame and photograph away as flock after flock of pelicans flew right over top of us. What an experience it was! There was another photographer out there as well with a huge lens, and I can only imagine what amazing photos he might have captured of these fascinating and beautiful birds. I hope you enjoy some of the ones that I was so happy to be able to end up with . . .



The American White Pelican
Pelecanus erythrorhynchos


Weight: 16.4 lbs.


Measures:
62" in length with a 108" wing span . . . that is five feet long, and 9 feet from tip to tip of the wings!


The flat, rounded plate on the bill is seen in breeding season only.


The pelican winters along the southern coasts of the United States and along the coast of Mexico and then migrates north to live for the summer months. They are locally common in breeding colonies of several hundred pairs on the West Coast and also on lakes.


The American White Pelican feeds on fish, and fishes by wading or swimming in shallow water, often in flocks, scooping up the fish with its large orange bill.


These huge, beautiful birds have a characteristic 'roller coaster' flight . . . all flying in a long line with each bird dipping and rising at the same point, alternating flapping and gliding which lends itself to this unique flight pattern.



When migrating, they fly in a v-formation and often soar at great heights.


These birds are fascinating, majestic creatures, and their design and uniqueness points to the Creator who fashioned this beautiful bird which we were able to see and enjoy in such large numbers!

"Then God said, 'Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let the birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.' God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:20-21

28 comments:

  1. This is amazing, Sarah. They are such beautiful birds. I've never seen them where we live now, but I did see my share growing up in southern Louisiana. Now, we see eagles, which are facinating, and I never saw while growing up, except in a zoo. :-)
    Blessings,

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  2. Oh I loved all the pictures! It must have been so fun watching them and taking pictures! :o) Were you able to get up close to them at all?

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  3. What a very neat thing to see! You got some really nice pictures, too. :)

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  4. Sarah, these are just lovely, and so majestic. Have you ever considered fashioning some of your photographs into framed pictures, or postcards, or calendars, or SOMETHING, and selling them in your ETSY shop? They would make lovely decor for people's walls!

    ~ Betsy

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  5. oh I love pelicans!
    You took some wonderful pictures.I enjoy trying to sneak photos of the birds when we are outside...no pelicans, but we did see a few gulls that flew inland from the shore.

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  6. Beautiful! I would have loved to have been there. I remember back when I was about 12 or so my Grandma and Mom took my brother, sister and I to Nebraska and we got to watch the Sandhill Cranes that were also migrating by the thousands! I've never forgotten that, and would LOVE to do something like that again!

    What a special opportunity to enjoy God's creation up close in such a special way! Your photos are wonderful!

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  7. Sarah,
    I'm so happy you're back!! I've missed you greatly!
    I've been praying and fasting for you my dear. I prayed you would find a way to work out what ever was the problem and it seems you have. (with many prayers and HIS help,I'm sure)
    God Bless You and Your Wonderful Family!!

    Miss Lila
    lilahuggins@gmail.com

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  8. Pelicans have always fascinated me. I have never seen one myself, but have watched documentaries that show them, and remember reading articles about them in my grandmother's multi-volume encyclopedia. The amazing variety of fowl, and their feeding habits unique to their particular species and environment has always given evidence of the care of the Creator for His creation. I am awed by the thought of it!

    I am so happy you were able to spend time with your family at a conservation area. Those are such special times!

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  9. They are beautiful, indeed! The Lord's creation is marvelous and so lovely!

    Many Blessings,
    Jenna

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  10. Beautiful, Sarah! That must have been so amazing to see so many of these white pelicans all at once. You did a wonderful job capturing them on photo; thank you so much for sharing the pictures. I can't help but echo what Jenna said, "The Lord's creation is marvelous and so lovely!" How very, very true! Many blessing to you, my friend. I hope that you have a lovely day.
    Amy

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  11. Thank you for your comment, Anne! I am glad that you enjoyed seeing the photos. :) That’s neat that you grew up in southern Louisiana . . . my parents lived there for a time before I was born, and it sounds like a fascinating place! Aren’t eagles amazing to see?! There’s just something so majestic about them. We see them up here as well (and especially at this conservation area that we went to), and it always is such a treat!

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  12. I am glad that you enjoyed them, Nabila! And yes, it was so fun! At one point, I walked along a levee to see how close I could get to a small flock that was on the bank of one of the pools . . . and I was able to get close enough to see the ‘bump’ on their bills without binoculars. They then took off and it was amazing listening to their feet ‘thump’ on the water when the first began flying, and then to hear their calls! And then they flew fairly close right past me and down low as well . . . it was an amazing experience!

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  13. It was, Joy! And thank you! :)

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  14. Thank you, Betsy! And you are too kind. :) The thought has flitted across my mind before to try to do something with some of my photographs . . . but, I am not sure if our printer would be high enough quality for something like that. Maybe when life slows down a little I’ll explore this idea more. You are sweet to suggest it! Thank you!

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  15. Me, too, Ellen! I love watching them. And thank you for your kind words regarding the photos! You sound like me with trying to ‘sneak photos’ of the birds. :) It’s easier said than done sometimes!

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  16. Thank you for your comment, Miss Sarah! And thank you for sharing that memory. :) I enjoyed reading about it! What a special time that must have been for your Grandma, Mom, brother, sister and you. I cannot imagine how incredible that would be to see Sandhill Cranes by the thousands! I have only seen three of them in my life before . . . and two just this year! (The same time that we went and saw the pelicans. :) What an amazing treat it was to see them!

    I hope someday you’ll have the opportunity to do something like that again!

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  17. It was so nice to hear from you, Miss Lila! Your comments always brighten up my day. :) Thank you so very much for your kind words and for your prayers! They meant so very much to me. Blessings to you as well!

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  18. I enjoyed reading your comment, Miss Linda! Thank you for sharing! Pelicans have always been fascinating to me as well . . . perhaps because they are so unusual looking. But then, must bird species I find fascinating! I just love watching them and observing them. Like you shared, as one studies and reads about them, it always give evidence of the care of the Creator for His creation. And any time that we observe or learn about creation His hand can be seen, and it is indeed awe-inspiring!

    Thank you again for your sweet comment!

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  19. Thank you for your comment, Jenna, and I would wholeheartedly agree! I am so glad that we have opportunities to see, observe, and enjoy the Lord’s beautiful creation!

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  20. I am glad that you enjoyed the photos, Amy, and thank you for your kind words! It was indeed amazing seeing so pelicans many at once . . . we so enjoyed it!

    Like you shared, it is so very true that "The Lord's creation is marvelous and so lovely!" I am so thankful that He has given it to us to enjoy and appreciate.

    Thank you for your sweet note, Amy, and I hope that you have a lovely day as well!

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  21. Sooo impressive!!
    You took marvelous pictures!
    Blessings,

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  22. Thank you, Kay, and I am glad that you enjoyed them! :)

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  23. We live where these birds spend the winter...........we see lots of brown ones, too. It's always neat to see them in formation flying above the ocean.

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  24. Wow! Wonderful pictures of the birds, Sarah! Thanks for sharing!

    Blessings!
    Bethany Joy

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  25. Hi sarqh! I found your lovely blog via french village life. I just posted a few minutes beforw, similiar photos of pelicans i took here! So ironic!

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  26. How neat that you live in an area where you can see both white and brown pelicans, Mrs. Mobunny! I’ve only seen brown pelicans once before when we went to the east coast and they are beautiful. What a beautiful sight it must be to see them flying in formation over the ocean!

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  27. Thank you, Bethany! I am glad that you enjoyed them. :)

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  28. Welcome to my blog, Sandra, and thank you for your comment! That's funny that you just posted similar photos of pelicans. :) I'll have to stop by and take a look at your post!

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)