American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)
These large pristine white birds are recognizable by the distinctive orange pouch hanging off their throat for storing food in. They are 50-65 inches with a wingspan of 96-114 inches (8-9.5 feet!). These migratory birds winter on the coast but return to lakes throughout the Great Plains and northern mountains every spring and summer to breed and raise their young. While on the coast, pelican’s prefer shallow bays, estuaries (marsh/wetland type land on the coast), and inlets. For their breeding grounds, they look for freshwater lakes, inland marshes, and shallow rivers
These large birds are graceful fliers, making long cross country trips using the upper thermals to make their way. They swim well but do not do the diving that their cousins, the Brown Pelicans, do. They are usually found in large groups, being a fairly social bird. They dine mostly on fish, crayfish, and amphibians.