Thursday, February 2, 2017

Great White Pelican

Thursday February 2nd
Great White Pelican seen at Ding Darling in 2016

So cool to see that last years mysterious appearance of a Great White Pelican at Ding Darling NWR made a brief return this week. Those folks who arrived yesterday morning had an opportunity to experience her. But she did fly off around 11 am and did not return to the disappointment of the large crowd of motivated birders staking out the site today. 

But where has she been for the past year? No one reported any sightings, other than her appearances at Ding Darling.   The swelling of the skin around the the eyes is only seasonal, which means that the lack of this tell allows for the bird to more easily blend in with the American Great Pelicans.

And how did this specimen come to be here? Past investigations did not find any reports of an escapee.  Did it fly here? I doubt it.  Its a long way from its home range in Africa and Eurasia.  My theory is that it, like so many other exotic flora and fauna, arrived as a stow-away aboard some freighter or oil tanker.   

Compare the Great White Pelican to the American White Pelicans

1 comment:

  1. It's a great story to think about, Tom. The Great White Pelican is certainly happy in the company of AWPE as the GWPE may have already moved on with a flock of its nearest relative as already noted. Another two day wonder?