Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Brown Pelican

This Brown Pelican was just hanging around on these pilings at The Pier in St Petersburg. If you've never seen one, they're pretty big birds, maybe 12-15 pounds. One would never know they're endangered if you live in Florida. They seem to be everywhere, and fairly easy to photograph, since they're not afraid of people and not skittish at all.

On The Pier, there's this little bait house where you can buy fish to feed these guys. They'll gather around right at your feet waiting for a hand out. That's part of the reason they're endangered, unfortunately. People have been giving them handouts for so long, they've become lazy to find food for themselves.

It's got to a point on some of the beaches in the summertime when all the tourists and snow birds (people that live up north that come to Florida for the winter) have gone home that we've had to resort to feeding them to keep them from starving to death. Every day around 1:00 on Spa beach, you'll see a truck come in with food for the Pelicans. The volunteers stay on the beach for about an hour feeding huge flocks of them along with a few Great Egrets and Great Blue Herons. It's quite a sight to see hundreds of birds just waiting for their lunch. That's one of the reasons it's against the law to feed the birds. People think their doing a good thing, when they're actually doing them harm.

Please if you visit Florida, don't feed the birds--heed the signs. They're there to protect our wild life, and to keep them from stealing your food when you picnic.

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