Posted by Michaela LeMay | 02.06.2024 | Marine Science, Sea Turtle Camp News

Brown Pelicans- Expert Divers

There are so many things that you can see at the beach, amazing waves, dolphins, beautiful shells, and countless amazing sea creatures. One of my favorite sights to see at the beach is the pelicans. If you ask anyone, I will always stop what I am doing to gaze at them. The way they fly, gliding over the water, diving to catch a snack, and just their overall beauty.

The Brown Pelican is the most common pelican in North Carolina and the one that I find to be the most beautiful. They are large birds and have an incredible wingspan of over six feet! Although their wingspan is impressive, the most amazing sight is watching them plunge into the water in hopes of catching a snack.

Brown Pelicans will fly over the water searching for schooling fish. Once they find a snack, they will plunge into the water from heights as high as sixty-five feet! Their plunge will stun the fish and they can scoop them up using their gular pouch and have a feast. Brown Pelicans can hold 2.5 gallons of water at a time, then push that water out to eat their fish!

Brown Pelicans were birds impacted by the pesticide DDT and their populations suffered greatly. However, in North Carolina, they have become a success story because their populations have grown since the ban of DDT use in 1972. Even though their populations are growing, they still face some troubles from humans. Oil spills, disturbing nesting areas, and fishing gear all still pose major threats to these amazing birds.

Next time you are on the coast, take the time to admire these amazing birds. Watch them glide over the water or plunge to catch a bite while you are enjoying the salty air on your skin. They never disappoint.