The Brown Pelicans arrive in the Northwest early spring from their breeding grounds as far south as Baja California. It is fascinating to watch them flying low over the waves or propelling themselves into the sea in pursuit of fish.
They are easy to spot with a wingspan stretching up to eight feet and weighing anywhere from 6-12 pounds. Younger Pelicans have white bellies while the older have shaggy gray-brown bellies.
In the past few years we have been able to enjoy the visiting Pelican’s but that hasn’t always been the case. Several decades ago they were close to extinction, but thankfully today these sea loving birds seem to be thriving. It has also been noted that their behavior is changing. Rather than immediately migrating southward in October, hundreds seem to linger on the Northwest coastline. This makes it more difficult for them to fish during rough weather or waters.
While visiting, the Pelicans will take refuge in our Nestucca River if the water gets too choppy for them to fish in the ocean. The past couple of weeks we have seen hundreds of them out by Haystack Rock, diving for dinner or basking in the Nestucca River. I for one am very happy they have chosen your little beach town as a safe haven.
Photo © Tim Hirsch/PacificCitySun.com