Pelicans are such strange and unlikely looking birds, with their plump bodies, very long bills, and large pouches for scooping up fish. Years ago, as I was swimming in the Pacific off Santa Monica Beach, a brown pelican dove for fish within five feet of me. What an awesome sight. In flight the pelican has a wingspan of up to ten feet. When it sees fish beneath the surface of the water, the bird folds its wings and plummets head first into the water, where it scoops up as many fish as it can, into the large pouch below its bill.
Shown here are White Pelicans, photographed on the Madison River in Montana.There are two species in North America, the Brown Pelican, found along ocean coasts, and the White Pelican, found throughout inland North America. White Pelicans are often seen in Yellowstone National Park and the Greater Yellowstone area.
In the sequence below, a parent approached an immature bird to offer it food. The immature pelican is as large as the parent, and is distinguished by the brownish feathers on its crown, in contrast to the pure white of the adult.