Brown Pelican Research Paper

Superior Essays
Louisiana has the pleasure of holding the brown pelican as its state bird and of me being able to call it home. I was born and raised in Louisiana so deciding on what bird to learn more about came very easily to me. I am from Lafayette, LA so pelican citing’s are few and far in between but whenever my family ventures towards New Orleans, which is quite often, we see them in many flocks on the way down along marshes and mangroves. Their beauty, shape, and way of life have always fascinated me and getting the chance to write about them is a pleasure. The Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, belongs to the order of Pelecantiformes and family of Pelecanidae. They are the smallest bird within the eight species of pelican even though they are …show more content…
They are permanent residents all along the Atlantic Ocean from Pennsylvania to the top of South American and along the shores of California. They usually migrate north in the summer and south in the autumn. Brown Pelicans are non-breeding residents along the Pacific Ocean form Washington to Ecuador and migrate across the Baja peninsula after breeding then back in order to breed by the next winter (USFWS, 2001). In order to portray a more descriptive example of the type of habitats Brown Pelicans prefer I am going to focus on one study in particular. Ralph W. Schreiber and Elizabeth Anne Schreiber did a study titled “Essential Habitat of The Brown Pelican in Florida”. This study was done between 1971 and 1976 in Boca Ciega Bay, Pinellas County, Florida. Included in this study is a map of the region they used that better helps create a picture of the grounds they observed (pg. 7). During nesting season the adults spend majority of their time in Tarpon Key. Spoil islands and sand bars largely free from human disturbance provide essential habitat for roosting and loafing birds (Schreiber and Schreiber 1982). After about 3-5 weeks of their eggs hatching the adults leave the nestling to fend for themselves. The adults do not leave the islands entirely but relocate to a completely different part of the island. They especially used Bird Key for loafing in …show more content…
They usually feed at night and especially during a full moon. Also including are a select few of amphibians and crustaceans as well (USFWS, 2001). Brown Pelicans can spot a school of fish in the water while flying as high as 65 feet. They tuck and twist to the left in order to protect their trachea and esophagus from the impact of hitting the water. Their throat pouch can expand once it reaches the water in order to catch prey and to hold the water that comes with lunch. Their pouches can hold up to 2.6 gallons of water (USFWS, 2001). A Brown Pelicans usual feeding territories are shallow ocean waters within 12 miles of the shore. They occasionally venture out into deeper waters past the coast. They are not so much in competition with others but they are known to steal food from other seabirds like seagulls. They do scavenge on dead animals and in certain circumstances they do also scavenge on other invertebrates like prawns. Brown Pelicans have little to no worries when it comes to predators. However, humans seem to cause the most harm if any nowadays. Back as early as the nineteen hundreds, pelicans were hunted for their feathers. This caused a sever decline in the species. President Theodore Roosevelt, in order to curb the decline, designated Florida’s Pelican Island as a national wildlife preserve for the birds.

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