Endangered Birds of Florida
The Florida Pelicans
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
Florida has two Pelicans, the Brown who
is a year round resident and
the White Pelican who is a "snowbird" and
only comes here in the winter.
A White Pelican at Sanibel Island, Florida
Photo credit: Dick Daniels
The Pelican is a truly exciting
bird to watch.
They have a very large bill with a rather
with which to gather their food.
This large water bird dives from great heights and crashes
into the water,
only to emerge seconds later with a
of what will eventually become its
The species is said to have existed for
over 30 million years.
There are 8 Pelican species in the world,
there are 2 in Florida,
the Brown and the White.
The Brown Pelican is the smallest of the
is about 50 inches tall, with a nearly 7 foot wing span
and weighs about 8
The White Pelican is nearly 6 feet tall,
can weigh up to 20 pounds
and has a wingspan of almost nine to ten
This is a really big bird!
Pelicans may live up to 20 years, but many
die early from starvation.
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
the Pelican such a spectacular
A Brown Pelican
Photo credit: NPS/Rodney Cammauf
Pelican can be found along the
of both the East and West Coasts of the
Having lived in both of these areas, I
lucky enough to have spent many years
their dramatic crashes into the water
after their food.
Driving along a Coastline one can
frequently see the Pelicans
flying directly overhead as if they are
Driving from Ponce Inlet to Daytona Beach
and on north to Flagler,
Brown Pelicans will be above you the entire
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
Humans have not been kind to them with
to where they live, feed and breed.
A White Pelican in Punta Gorda Florida
In California for years, Brown Pelicans were
treated quite beastly,
with crimes so unspeakable, that they
cannot be written.
It would appear that there were just as
incidents happening on the East Coast as
Brown Pelicans were guilty of being in
with fishermen who felt it was their
commit these horrific acts.
Earlier the 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 can harm
them now is Man and his insatiable
appetite for Coastal living.
All those pretty Condos and lavish Hotels
on the Beaches
have claimed many lives, they are called
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:
American White Pelican
What's Your Wingspan?
The American White Pelican
The White Pelican of Florida
Museum of Science - Miami
Everglades - Brown Pelican
American White Pelican
Walking with the
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