A marvelous bird is the pelican
His beak can hold more than his bellycan
He can store in his beak
Enough food for a week
And I don't know how the hell'e can.
I always thought that little ditty was by Ogden Nash, but upon a little research, found out it was Dixon Merrith. But it has always stuck in my head, for some reason. Yesterday I came across several pelicans in the parking lot near the marina at Morro Bay. They were busy trying to raid a dumpster, so hung around long enough for me to get a few shots. They are an amazing bird, very beautiful in a prehistoric way.
Brown pelicans were nearly extinct in the 1960's and 70's because of DDT, but the species rebounded after DDT was banned in the US in 1972. They are plunge divers, dropping from the air with their wings folded into the water to catch their prey - the only species of pelicans that do this. Their pouches actually do hold 2-3 times more than their stomach - close to 3 gallons of fish and water.
They've been in the news out here recently because ot record numbers of sick and injured pelicans being discovered from San Francisco down to Baja, California. Wildlife experts don't seem to know what's causing the increase in sick and dead pelicans.