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Brown Pelican

Pelecanus occidentalis

Brown Pelican, Pelecanus occidentalis, photo © by Michael Plagens

This stray Brown Pelican was keeping residence on Tempe Town Lake in Tempe, Maricopa Co., Arizona, USA. 6 January 2013. This is an immature bird.

The Sonoran Desert includes an extensive sea coast in Sonora along the Sea of Cortex (Gulf of California) where Brown Pelicans and other sea birds are a common sight. A few Brown Pelicans each year find their way up the major rivers that empty into the Colorado River. They might be driven by food shortages or else fierce winds of the occassional tropical storm. It is hard to know what finally becomes of these birds. Do they finally turn around and fly back out to sea or do they die for lack of food?

Rare Stray

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 26 April 2013