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American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

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Feeding Frenzy

It's late winter at Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island, Florida. Many birds have finished nesting, and young birds are everywhere. This morning, wind and tide have conspired to strand schools of fish in backwater ditches. And the birds are taking advantage of it. It's a... read more »

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Pelicans Go Fishing

Unlike Brown Pelicans, which dive from above to capture fish, White Pelicans feed by forming a group. They swim in a line, and—while herding a school of fish—all dip their heads at once. The pelican's broad bill spreads its huge pouch, as the bird pushes through the water. As each bird lifts its... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  ecology

Oxbow Lakes

You’ll find an oxbow lake, rich with birdlife, at Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Montana. The lake was initially a meander in the Missouri River, left when the river took a short cut; the abandoned loop became Lake Bowdoin. Large numbers of Ring-billed, Franklin’s and California... read more »

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American White Pelicans

American White Pelicans have a nine-foot wingspan, nearly that of the California Condor. In summer, they breed mainly in the interior west of the United States and Canada, favoring shallow portions of lakes, marshes, and rivers, where they scoop fish from the water in the pouches of their beaks. read more »

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