22 July 2010

4 Responses to “1”

  1. Molly Says:

    I have been thinking about pelicans lately. They seem so aloof compared to other beach birds. Where do they nest? Not near the crazy gull colonies, it seems. How are brown pelicans doing post-DDT? Aren’t they majestic (compared to western gulls)?

    Thank you for unintentionally providing this outlet.

  2. Neil Says:

    Oh man pelicans.

    I realize that the questions you pose are quasi-rhetorical but I’ll field some anyway since they tie into this photograph.

    Pelicans nest gregariously, on the ground or in trees, there is a large California Brown Pelican rookery on Anacapa Island. They do nest along side cormorants and maybe other birds, perhaps they avoid gulls though, I certainly would.

    American White Pelicans actually nest in the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains, and this raises an interesting point. Despite impressions Pelicans are not really seabirds, at least not in the same way that albatross or frigate birds are. Of the ~8 living pelican species, only the Brown and the closely related Peruvian spend most of their lives on the coast the others spend at least as much time in bays, swamps, marshes and lakes.

    This photo was taken on the northern shore of the Great Salt Lake about 100 meters from Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty. There were many of these “salt mummies” on the shore, their bodies had drifted from a nearby rookery.

    Brown Pelicans are supposed to be a conservation/DDT success story and clearly they are thriving on the West Coast today though the Gulf population is obviously going to be affected for years to come by the BP spill.

    And, though I am learning to be more interested in gulls, there’s no doubt that Pelicans are more majestic. They are also just plain evil.

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