February 2010 Bird Photo of the Month

White Pelican, Sunrise Breakfast © Douglas Lange
Location: Grand Harbor – Camera: Sony A100 with SOny 18-250 lens

This is an amazing photograph, of being in the right place at the right time to take it…highlighting the white pelican’s huge pouch aiding in scooping up this enormous fish while swimming on the surface, unlike brown Pelicans who plunge from 25 feet to capture their fish. The action makes this an exciting and interesting photograph.  Even though it loses some focus from the distance from the zoomed camera, the feathers on the body and even veins in the pouch are visible.  Though most of the bird is in shadow, the backlighting of the sun on the water and outlining the pelican makes the photograph artistic.  The rippling made by action speed in the water and the contrasting calmness of the surrounding water adds to the sense of drama.

Since white pelicans are one of our largest birds weighing up to 30 lbs., they have a concomitant wingspan of 9 feet allowing them to lift their weight. What a beautiful sight to see 50-100 white pelicans soar and turn in unison in the thermals up 1000s of feet high!  The majority leave Florida in March heading up the Mississippi valley to freshwater wetlands in north western US and southern Canada. In breeding and migration season they eat up to 40% of their weight daily.  After summer nesting, they will head back south, some arriving in Florida by November. Now, we bid farewell to our snow birds.

Juanita Baker,
Coordinator for the PIAS Photo of the Month

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