Okay, I am a sucker for brown pelicans. I’ve loved them ever since we had the beach house in Nags Head. I know I’d seen them prior to that, but it was walking along those beaches, sitting on the deck, or dining at one of the waterfront restaurants on the Outer Banks when I really came to admire them. Interestingly, you don’t see brown pelicans in the Pacific and when I inquired about this to a biologist who was guiding a tour of some small island, he said that despite their beauty in soaring, they aren’t long distance fliers. Therefore, as populous as they may be along the Southeast Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean, you don’t find them in the Pacific. Now, that was some time ago and considering the globalization of so many other things, perhaps that, too, has changed.
Anyway, we’ve seen a significant increase of brown pelicans in Key Largo and while I’m not certain of the reason, I am glad about it. Unlike the larger white pelican of my home state of Louisiana, the brown pelican is a bit smaller and I think more graceful. Watching them fly in formation is another enjoyable sight and when one of them goes into a dive, you simply have to stop whatever you’re doing and watch. On a few occasions, we’ve seen a flock working a school of fish and that’s definitely a sight. Imagine a V of brown pelicans cruising along for a distance, then one or two dives from the formation into the water, then up and more dive down in a constant up-and-down motion until the flock, and presumedly the school of fish, moves beyond vision. Naturally I had to put them into Irises to Ashes and any other book where they fit. I do hope that our increased population is not temporary, but if so, then I will enjoy them for as long as I can.