Nine Foot Wingspans – American White Pelicans

American White Pelican in flightAmerican White Pelican in flight -Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Yesterday while on the auto tour route of Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge the birds that I saw in the highest numbers were American White Pelicans. There were huge flocks of them in several areas group feeding and some were simply resting or preening. The White Pelicans are done with rearing their young and they are now spending time fattening up for their fall migration. This one looks like it has been eating well, look at that chest.

Look at that wingspanLook at that wingspan – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

American White Pelicans have a wingspan of about 9 feet, in North America only the California Condor has a larger wingspan than these pelicans. The photo above shows the same pelican as the first image one frame later.

American White Pelican flying pastAmerican White Pelican flying past - Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Three frames later the pelican had turned towards the east which gave me nice light under both of its wings. I didn’t notice until I edited the file that the pelican had opened its bill slightly.

There were pelicans every where yesterday at Bear River National Wildlife Refuge even though it has been so dry this year.

Mia

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