Usually my family spends the holidays in the snow but this year, everyone stayed close to home in Louisiana. My parents live on a lake so many migratory birds land in their backyard. At one point during the week, upwards of 500 pelicans landed in the water along their side of the peninsula.
Pelicans are the Louisiana state bird so they are special to us. Well, actually, it's the Brown Pelican. Why did we choose it? The Brown Pelican shares its parenting duties. Even after the baby birds leave the nest to socialize at five weeks, the family continues to eat together. As the young birds age, the parents will continue feeding them even after they leave the colony. That sense of family was key to our choice as the state bird.
The pelicans that frequent my parent's backyard in Northern Louisiana, on its migration to the Gulf Coast, is the American White Pelican. It's one of the largest flying birds in North America, with a 9-foot wingspan. There are populations living in Texas and Mexico. Those living in the Rocky Mountains, usually move south to California and to the west coast of Mexico.
They can be spooked easily so it took a few days of sneaking up on them to get a few good shots. Groups will push fish towards the shore then scoop them up in their large bills. They really are amazing birds to see up close....very prehistoric.
They were soothing to watch during a busy holiday week.