The white pelicans have returned to our area (St. Augustine, Florida). We heard they were back a few weeks ago but had the opportunity to see about a flock of 30 along the Intracoastal Waterway (Tolomato River) near Pine Island the other day. I have included a few pictures of them from last year that I took while conducting the annual St. Augustine Christmas Bird Count. I love seeing the brown pelicans next to the white pelicans giving an opportunity to see the difference in size.
The American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) is one of the largest North American birds and breeds inland. They, like many humans, winter in warmer climates which is why we only get to see them in Florida in the winter. Their wingspan can reach 9 feet while the brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) has a 7 foot wingspan. The pelicans congregate in large groups in the winter. It’s likely we will eventually see 100 or more together like we did last year. For more information and range maps, check out All About Birds.