Sunday, October 4, 2009

BIRDS Pelicans

Old Trunks isn't certain why she admires this species so much, perhaps it is the way they feed in small groups and 'round up' the fish. Maybe it is because when they do scoop up the fish in their bill, it expands, drains out the water and leaves the nourishment for them to swallow. OR is it because when the soar on a sunny day with a pure blue sky, they are graceful.

Leech Lake has had a good amount of pelicans the last couple of years. They may be part of the group that left their young behind to die on another lake. Who would know just why that happens? No one seems to really have a true idea.

During breeding season the males get an out growth on their beak, called a Keel-like growth. We called it a nob and called all the males Bob. It takes a long time for the nob to disappear!

When groups come in to land, they are often in a line, landing one right after another as if they each know the space they will need. Some are solo later in the year and seem to float about without moving.

They lay their eggs on a mat or raft of weeds/reeds in shallow water. So shallow, in fact that we have never seen a baby pelican. I wonder if they are fuzzy and cute? Well, they are so ugly only a mother could love them!

We have been close enough to see juveniles hanging out on rocks with the adults, sea gulls, and cormorants. We have heard the young grunt. We don't know how old they are because they keep their gray bill and throat pouch for three or more years.

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