Weekly Photo Challenge: Half and Half


half-and-half_pelican

Brown Pelicans were halfway to extinction due to eggshell thinning caused by DDT exposure in the 1970’s. This species incubates eggs in an unusual way; it covers them with its webbed feet. When pesticide ingestion caused thinning of eggshells, this practice resulted in so many broken eggs that the species became endangered. Brown Pelicans are now reestablishing along the West, East, and Gulf coasts. It’s truly awesome to see them in strong flight against the shoreline.

Adult Pelicans consume as much as four pounds of fish per day.  Fish are captured by the pelican plunge diving and scooping up prey with its gular pouch. The symmetry of the Brown Pelican’s halves is particularly graceful as seen during a dive.

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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Half and Half.”

16 comments

  1. I’ve always seen Brown Pelicans along the Gulf Coast in Florida every spring, in plentiful numbers (it seems). I hadn’t realized that they had been endangered by eggshell thinning from exposure to DDT – a similar story to the Bald Eagle, which is also making a good comeback. I like your comment above that “the greatest threat to brown pelicans. . . . it’s dealing with humans.” As with all forms of wildlife.

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    1. Yes Kathlin, It is maddening that human activities create so many dire circumstances for Nature (and ourselves). I suspect we could be at the tip-of-the-iceberg with threats to marine species. All the reports about plastics in our oceans… at least we all CAN do something about that! As simple as starting with rejecting one-use plastic bags and packaging when ever possible 😉
      ~Jane

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  2. Fantastic images, I was sad to read about the egg thinning caused by ingesting man made pollutants…hope the pelicans make a full recovery and mankind finds ways of farming without so many hazardous chemicals.

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    1. Thanks, Janet, “passel” will be added to the list! I used iBirds West as the resource for “squadron”. Selected simply because I like the sound of that collective name; and because that’s how I think they look flying in their little groups up the coast. Other names for groups of pelicans on the iBirds list include: brief, pod, pouch, scoop.And, now we have- passel.
      Awesome. I wonder if there are circumstances that dictate correct usage? I know there are when it comes to groups of Vultures… but, that’s another story 😉
      ~Jane

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  3. Excellent choice Jane – one of the saddest things I ever heard was that pelicans die from starvation because they go blind due to their constant diving. Do you know if that’s true?

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    1. From what I can determine from a little researching… it sounds like blindness caused by constant diving is a myth. According to Science World at Telus World of Science in Vancouver, BC:
      “Pelicans can go blind because of avian botulism from diseased fish or chemical pollution. But the greatest threat to Brown Pelicans, is not going blind, it’s dealing with humans. In California, the residue of pesticides in the fish they eat damages their eggs. In Florida, the major problem is getting tangled in fishing gear.”

      I’m glad you asked, Tina. Good to learn something new every day 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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