Yes you Peli-CAN! On January 9, the City of St. Pete officially named the Brown Pelican the city bird. I was astonished the Brown Pelican hadn’t already been designated the city bird if I’m being honest. A long overdue honor.
Notable features on the Brown Pelican include an oversized bill, sinuous neck, and big, dark body.
They feed by plunge-diving from high up, using the force of impact to stun small fish before scooping them up.
They are fairly common today, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and are an an excellent example of a species’ recovery from pesticide pollution that once placed them at the brink of extinction.
After nearly disappearing from North America in the 1960s and 1970s, Brown Pelicans made a full comeback thanks to pesticide regulations.
The name Brown Pelican belies this birds’ other subtle colors. Thanks to Jay Anthony for this great profile shot taken in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Why is this bird so freaking awesome?
Some pelicans can enjoy long lifespans. The oldest known brown pelican lived to be 43, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Brown Pelicans are expert divers. During a dive, the Brown Pelican tucks its head and rotates its body to the left. This maneuver is probably to cushion the trachea and esophagus from the impact.
You can watch these beautiful birds from North Shore and Vinoy Park as they look to pick up dinner on the go.
Now that we have a city bird, can we also designate a city reptile, cat, and dog?
Want to observe birds in the ‘Burg?