Posted by on Jul 6, 2014 in My Blog | 0 comments

Always Something to Learn!

Brown Pelicans are my heroes!  They’re the true representation of “the come-back kids'” having become close to extinct in North America  in the 1950s and 1960s due to the heavy use of harmful pesticides with DDT in them.  The brown pelicans incubate their eggs by lying or standing on their eggs with their feet and as their egg shells became extremely thin as a result of the DDT, eventually all eggs would crack leaving no pelican chicks to raise.  Over 40 years later colonies of brown pelicans have reappeared and we now see these sometimes laughable birds enjoying life in North America again.  I just love their antics!!

The incredibly beautiful photo used in this blog post was taken by Sandy Scott, nature enthusiast among other great things, but I will allow him to introduce himself through his remarks below.  And, thanks, Sandy, for my newly gained factoids about one of my favorite and entertaining birds!!!

“For starters, as a retired airline pilot and avid skydiver, I can’t resist anything that has wings or flies. One of my favorite birds is the goofy, friendly, incredibly interesting pelican. This shot was taken on the Gulf of Mexico in St. Petersburg, FL. It shows the interesting detail of the plumage of this adult brown pelican. Here are a couple of interesting factoids about pelican fishing techniques, the finer points of which usually go unnoticed due to the speed with which it happens.They utilize a fascinating fishing technique of diving into the water at high speeds, crashing into the water upside down hence stunning the fish near the surface, and then scooping them up in their pouch. They then drain the up to 3 gallons of water in their pouch, and maneuver their prey so they are in position to swallow headfirst down the hatch.

This maneuver happens so quickly that I was never aware of the technique they used until I stopped the action with my camera. Just prior to hitting the water, they tuck in their heads, rotate to the left and then land upside down. Interestingly, the reason for that left turn is that the bird’s trachea and esophagus are both located on the right side and the left turn technique protects vital parts from being damaged on impact. There is one other physiological feature of the bird that helps protect it during its high speed fishing dives. They have air sacs throughout their bodies that not only help cushion them on impact, but also enhance their buoyancy in the water. Because of these numerous air sacs throughout the body, pelicans are much lighter than they appear.”

How totally amazing is our Creator!! 

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