Diving from heights of up to 65 feet in the air, the brown pelican crashes into the water. The shock of the impact stuns the intended meal which the pelican scoops into its expandable neck pouch. Capable of holding up to 2-1/2 gallons of sea water, the pelican sucks in the fish and expels the water.
The brown pelican came very near to extinction in the late 1970’s due to the insecticide DDT. Unlike other birds which develop a bare spot on their chest to incubate their eggs (brood patch), the brown pelican stands on its eggs…the warm underparts of its feet doing the incubation. DDT caused the egg shells to be too thin and fragile to be incubated.
Today the brown pelican has made a full recovery. Its numbers are stable. We were lucky to get very close to one on Whitewater Bay in the Florida Everglades.