Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Brown Pelican

During our Sanibel sojourn, I suppose I should not have been surprised to see a Brown Pelican delicately perched on the outer branch of a tall tree. They do nest in trees, as well as on the ground. Their webbed toes make them good swimmers, but they are awkward walkers and climbers. Shields (2014) reports that, “when moving through bushes or trees, [they] may step or hop among branches” balancing with their wings partially spread. Notice that this bird is banded on the right leg.

By the early 1970s, the pesticides Endrin and DDT almost wiped Brown Pelicans out. By 1963, they were gone from the Pelican State, Louisiana. In 1970, Pelicans were placed on the Endangered Species List, DDT was banned, and Endrin use was cut. Pelican populations recovered, and the species was delisted in 1985—another success for the Endangered Species Act, legislation now often the target of conservative politicians.

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