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2022 Calendar Cover Bird

The bird on the cover page of the 2022 St. PetersBird Calendar is a Brown Pelican in flight.

brown pelican in flight, st petersbird

The Brown Pelican is strictly a marine bird and is rarely seen inland except around the Salton Sea.

Family: Pelecanidae
Species: Pelecanus occidentalis
Length: 39.4-53.9 in (100-137 cm)
Wingspan: 78.7 in (200 cm)
Weight: 70.5-176.4 oz (2000-5000 g)

Brown Pelicans eat fish taken near the surface by plunge-diving from air and scooping up its prey with the pouch that expands from the lower half of the bill.

Adults are silent except for occasional low croaking; the young birds can make a snakelike hiss.

In the 1960s and 70s it almost faced extinction because of DDT poisoning, which led to thinning of its eggshells and reproductive failure. The eggshells would become so thin, the birds would break their own eggs while trying to incubate. The horrible consequences of using DDT as a pesticide was subject of the book Silent Spring. DDT was finally banned in the USA in 1972, and the Brown Pelican numbers started to recover.

Pelicans are among the heaviest birds in the world.

Photographed in flight from the North Beach on Honeymoon Island.

Purchase the 2022 calendar.

Bird facts gleaned from DK Smithsonians Handbooks: Birds of Florida (by Fred J. Alsop III) and What It’s Like To Be A Bird (by David Allen Sibley).

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