Monday, April 25, 2011
In this post, I mentioned my friend Phil Jeffries and his wonderful photos...I asked permission and he said I was welcome to share whatever he sent me--so here are some of his amazing pelican photos from Cooley Lake!
Looking at them, I realized that the ones I saw halfway across the lake must have had the breeding keel or "centerboard" on their huge beaks, but they were too far away to see, even with the binoculars. Each bird has a slightly different shaped keel, and both sexes shed them once the eggs are laid. Quite impressive, aren't they!
I hadn't realized pelicans were THAT big...the white ones can get 62" tall...my height! (Bald eagles are more like 48"...with an 8' wingspam, to pelicans' 8 1/2-9 feet. Really big birds!
Unlike the brown pelicans, these guys don't dive from the sky after prey (and as shallow as Cooley Lake is, it's a good thing!) Instead, they may fish in concert, forming a long line and herding small prey into the shallows.
I'll miss them when they head North...Phil says he's already seen large groups of them heading that direction.