American White Pelican – Photo Study

Alex LamoreauxBirding, General News and Info, Photography16 Comments

The American White Pelican’s massive nine-foot wingspan, beautiful plumage, and bright orange bill and feet make it absolutely stunning. This pelican of the interior west does not dive like the coastal Brown Pelican, but rather, dips its bill into the water to scoop up passing fish. This species is famous for joining others of its kind to cooperatively concentrate fish and then all at once, the bird’s scoop up the fish they have trapped between themselves. The American White Pelican migrates through most areas of Idaho, and breeds in a few parts of the state. I was lucky enough to see large groups of these birds migrating high overhead while out during the early part of my field season here in Idaho back in April; sometimes groups of a few hundred would soar over! At the C. J. Strike WMA here in Idaho there is a large colony of pelicans that spend quite a bit of time near the out-flow of the dam, where you can observe them closely; this makes perfect conditions for getting some up-close photos. Below are some photos I have taken of pelicans here in Idaho at either C. J. Strike WMA or near American Falls Dam.

American White Pelicans flying past the Willow Marina at American Falls Dam, Idaho

American White Pelican at C. J. Strike WMA Dam, Idaho

American White Pelicans at American Falls Dam, Idaho

American White Pelican at C. J. Strike WMA, Idaho

American White Pelican at C. J. Strike WMA, Idaho