SOUTHEASTERN, N.C.—Nope, those aren’t swans on the Masonoboro Island, they’re Pelicans.
A flock of American White Pelicans touched down on the barrier island this week. Locals may be accustomed to the brown pelican, which is typically smaller in size compared to white pelicans.
According to the North Carolina Coastal Reserve, the species is not commonly found on our coast. Chris Kent, a wildlife biologist for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, said the bird is typically found in the Western United States.
“From time to time interesting birds show up in our area,” Kent said.
The large white bird, which can have up to a 9.5-foot wingspan, breeds and migrates in western North America according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. North Carolina is far from the bird’s typical flight pattern in central and western U.S.
Migrating twice annually, American White Pelicans are currently in a post-breeding season. Like brown pelicans, white pelicans walk awkwardly on land but fly gracefully, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. While in the area, the birds will likely eat whatever they can catch. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the birds “readily change foraging locations as fishing conditions change.”
Have you seen the American White Pelican? Let us know in the comments below.
Send tips to Johanna Ferebee at email@example.com or follow Johanna on Twitter @j__ferebee