I photographed this American White Pelican during my trip last month to south Texas. From afar, I often confused Pelicans for Whooping Cranes because of their similar color and size. It took me a while to be able to distinguish them based on their behavior. We were not there to photograph Pelicans but I regret not taking better photos of them while I had the opportunity.
These birds are not the most beautiful nor the most graceful birds but they are impressive when they fly. One of the largest birds in North America, the Pelican’s wing span can measure up to 9 feet. The birds soar with incredible steadiness on their broad white and black wings. Their large heads and huge, heavy bills give them a prehistoric look. On the water, they dip their pouched bills to scoop up fish. Sometimes groups of Pelicans work together to herd fish into the shallows for easy feeding. Parents must provide roughly 150 pounds of food to nourish a chick from its birth to the time it’s ready to forage on its own. Contrary to cartoon portrayals and common misconceptions, pelicans never carry food in their bill pouches. They use them to scoop up food but swallow their catch before flying off.
This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5DS using my Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II Lens set on 349 mm. The camera was set on Aperture priority mode with the aperture set at f/7.1, shutter speed at 1/1000th of a second and the ISO set at 200. This is a single image processed in Lightroom.
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