Brown Pelicans Still a Sight on Oregon Coast for a Little Longer
(Oregon Coast) - A survey by U.S. wildlife scientists in September found 7,018 brown pelicans off of the Oregon coast, which bodes well for spotting them, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). The agency said they may be nesting in Mexico and Southern California, but in summer they come up to Oregon to search for food.
Recent bigger storms may start to chase them away, but viewing is likely still good along the beaches and estuaries as calmer conditions returned this week.
“They are superb fishers noted for their spectacular head-first dives to trap unsuspecting fish in their expandable pouches,” ODFW said. “Of the world’s pelican species, only the brown pelican feeds by this plunge-diving method, which makes them fun to watch. Despite being a superb fisher, the brown pelican isn’t above panhandling on local docks for scraps, however experts say that the majority of their food is caught rather than scavenged. Their diet consists of fish and some marine invertebrates.”
ODFW added that brown pelicans are highly social creatures throughout the entire year. They breed in colonies of up to several thousand pairs – typically on offshore islands. Pairs build nests on the ground or in trees, depending on what’s available; they incubate eggs under their foot webs, and they feed their young regurgitated and predigested fish.
Some pelicans have been known to live close to a human in middle age. The longest record is one that died at 43.
ODFW said the pelicans will be heading back to their nesting grounds in the next several weeks, so the agency suggest to get out soon and see this amazing bird before it flies south.
Look for rocky areas like those around Depoe Bay, south of Yachats and Seal Rock, as well as bay areas like those around Manzanita, Wheeler, Newport, Waldport, and Pacific City.
More photos of pelicans below, from the Depoe Bay area, as well as of the Yachats area.
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