The American White Pelican Likes to Visit Amelia Island Too!
Article by: Kacie Couch
A-well-a, bird, bird, bird, well, the bird was the word today on the Eco Tour here at Amelia River Cruises and Charters! We have been seeing more birds during low tide lately than we can count but today I’m going to focus on a particular type of bird that has piqued our interest this season: the American white pelican.
Why are we so interested in this bird? Well allow me to explain: White pelicans are a migratory species, just like geese or any of our local “snow birds” (including my grandparents- Hi guys!) but for whatever reason, a flock of these delightful birds have decided to forgo their usual migratory pattern and spend the summer here on Amelia Island with us. Perhaps they’ve grown too old to travel; or perhaps they just decided to spend some extra time in paradise this year. Whatever the reason may be, the white pelicans are here, and we’re certainly enjoying their company because these birds are INCREDIBLE.
We see them just about every day on the tour and let me tell you, compared to other birds in our area these birds may as well be planes. With an average wingspan of almost 10 feet which basically correlates to one Kacie per wing, these birds are quite large. In fact, they are the largest birds native to North America! They can hold three gallons of water in the pouch beneath their bright orange beaks and considering that one gallon equals over eight pounds, that’s pretty impressive.
Not only are they statistically impressive, they are also beautiful birds! Pure white, minus the black tips on the underside of their wings and bright orange beaks make them easy to spot and a delight to watch from the boat while we trawl for shrimp and other critters. We certainly have lucked out in having them stick around this year. That being said, make sure to come on the Eco Tour soon and check out the white pelicans and other bird populations we may spot before they fly away!
See you on the boat, everyone!
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We look forward to seeing you on this or any of our other adventures.