California Brown Pelican
About This Image
A California Brown Pelican in flight off Alameda, California. These birds generally travel in small groups of between 4-10, though they may gather in larger colonies. I usually see them in flight near sunset. I took this shot by waiting in an area near their ususal evening flight path.
A few mornings after I took this photo, I got up before sunrise and went down to the San Francisco Bay near the Alameda Naval Air station. I saw several hundred of these birds massed together in this cove area. For about an hour, the pelicans would peel off in small groups, each following the same flight path further down the bay. Unfortunately, due to the position of the sun and the fact that I only had a telephoto lens so there was no way I could capture the entire group in the cove.
These are among the heaviest flying birds, weighing about 9 pounds with a wingspan of 6 feet. According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the California Brown Pelican is an endangered species. It was nice to know that there is still such a large gathering of these birds in the San Francisco Bay area.
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