Sunday, November 16, 2008

Local Feathered Friends



Being on the Pacific Flyway, the two freshwater lagoons that border our town attract thousands of birds all year long. But this time of year, as the seasons change from warm to colder, the Batiquitos and San Elijo lagoons are a favorite stopping off point where birds can grab a bite to eat and catch up on their sleep.

Some birds find it so accommodating, they decide not to migrate after all. Pictured are American White pelicans, swooping low over the San Elijo Lagoon. They're found on all continents except Antarctica and live both on the coasts and inland. They're a large bird, 50" to 70" long and weigh about 15 lbs. They have special fibers in their chests that allow them to glide for miles without flapping their wings.

Unlike the brown pelican, the American White doesn't dive for food. It feeds as it swims and usually consumes around 4 pounds of fish a day. The females lay 2-3 eggs in the ground and take turns with the males keeping them warm.

These pelican are protected by a 1918 evironmental law, as their numbers are depleted by coyotes, ravens and seagulls.

Thanks to neighbor Chris Mayne, a southern California wildlife photographer for sharing his beautiful photograph.

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