A Brown Pelican
Photo credit: SFWMD
Endangered Birds of Florida
The Florida Pelicans
The Brown Pelican
The Brown Pelican has been removed
from the Endangered List.
To begin: what is a Bird?
A Bird is a warm blooded,
bipedal (two legs)
vertebrate (has a backbone)
bills and wings and most can
It lays eggs to reproduce and
many theories have
it classified as a direct
descendant of Dinosaurs,
dating back to the Jurassic
The Brown Pelican is a truly exciting bird to watch.
It dives from great heights and crashes into the water,
only to emerge seconds later with a mouthful
of what will eventually become its dinner.
These large, up to about 50 inches, water birds, have a
nearly 7 foot wing span and weigh between 8
to 10 pounds.
They may live up to 20 years, but many die early from
They have a large dark bill and a rather large pouch
with which to gather their food.
The Brown Pelican is the smallest of the
There are 8 Pelican species in the world,
there are 2 in Florida,
the Brown and the White.
The species is said to have existed for
over 30 million years.
Brown Pelicans make few, if any sounds,
except for their young,
who make quite a bit, when they are in
And if you ask anyone who has seen them,
this gathering of food is exactly what makes
the Brown Pelican such a spectacular sight.
Photo credit: NPS/Rodney Cammauf
The Brown Pelican can be found along the shorelines
of both the East and West Coasts of the U.S.
Having lived in both of these areas, I have been
lucky enough to have spent many years enjoying
their dramatic crashes into the water after their food.
Driving along a Coastline one can frequently see
flying directly overhead as if they are following you.
Driving from Ponce Inlet to Daytona Beach
and on north to Flagler,
Pelicans will be above you the
We have sat outside in Flagler Beach
having breakfast and
counted as many as 22 flying along the
shoreline above our heads.
What a wonderful way to start the day!
Pelicans are so beautiful and yet so fragile.
Humans have not been kind to them with respect
to where they live, feed and breed.
In California for years, Pelicans were treated quite beastly,
with crimes so unspeakable, that they cannot be written.
It would appear that there were just as many
incidents happening on the East Coast as well.
Brown Pelicans were guilty of being in direct competition
with fishermen who felt it was their right to
commit these horrific acts.
widespread use of DDT had
them out due to egg failure and
DDT as it was proved, makes the shells of
birds so thin,
that they crack and the babies die before
they can be born.
This toxic chemical made a victim of the
just as it did the Bald Eagles and other
Brown Pelicans at Ponce Inlet, Florida
Photo credit: Jake N.
With DDT finally out of the way, the only thing that
them now is Man and his insatiable appetite for Coastal
All those pretty Condos and lavish Hotels on the Beaches
have claimed many lives, they are called Wildlife.
And Birds are just one of the Species
whose waterfront homes have been lost.
A wonderful description of the Brown
Pelican by John Audubon:
The Brown Pelican
Places to learn more:
The Brown Pelican
Pelican Fact Sheet
Museum of Science - Miami
Everglades - Brown Pelican
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