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Florida Brown Pelican

Discovering Florida’s Brown Pelicans: From Endangered to Flourishing

An Introduction to Florida’s Coastal Gem: The Brown Pelican

The Brown Pelican, known scientifically as Pelecanus Occidentalis, is a fascinating bird that graces the coastal areas of Florida. This article delves into the captivating world of these majestic birds, their conservation journey, and how you can peacefully observe them while paddle boarding or kayaking.

The Majestic Appearance of Brown Pelicans

Brown Pelicans are the smallest among the eight species of pelicans, measuring up to 54 inches long and weighing between 8 to 10 pounds. Their wingspan can stretch between 6.5 to 7.5 feet, making them a sight to behold as they glide over Florida’s waters. Their large bill, which can be up to 34.8 cm long, turns a reddish shade during breeding seasons. With pale yellow eyes, black legs, and feet, and a unique unfeathered black throat pouch, the brown pelican is a bird-watcher’s delight.

From Endangered to Flourishing: The Conservation Journey

Brown Pelicans have faced numerous challenges over the years. Once considered endangered due to hunting and the effects of pesticides like DDT, they have made a remarkable comeback. Thanks to conservation efforts and legal protections such as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, their populations have been steadily increasing since the late 20th century. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s regular surveys have also contributed to this positive trend.

The Threat of Fishing Litter

Despite their recovery, Brown Pelicans still face threats, particularly from fishing litter left on piers. Hooks and fishing lines can entangle these birds, leading to injuries or even death. It’s crucial for us to maintain clean fishing areas to ensure the safety of these magnificent creatures.

The Impact of Human Interaction

Another issue affecting Brown Pelicans is human feeding. While it may seem harmless, feeding alters their natural hunting habits and can make them dependent on human interaction, which is detrimental to their well-being.

Paddle Boarding & Kayaking: A Peaceful Way to Observe

One of the most eco-friendly ways to observe Brown Pelicans is through paddle boarding and kayaking. These activities allow you to get close enough for a good view without disturbing their natural behavior. It’s a win-win situation: you get to experience the beauty of Florida’s coastal wildlife, and the pelicans get to continue their daily activities undisturbed.

Conservation Efforts and How You Can Help

Organizations like the International Union for Conservation of Nature have been pivotal in the conservation of Brown Pelicans. You can contribute by participating in local clean-up drives, educating others about the importance of not feeding these birds, and supporting local wildlife conservation programs.

A Final Word on Preserving the Majesty of Brown Pelicans

The Brown Pelican is more than just a bird; it’s a testament to nature’s resilience and beauty. Through collective efforts in conservation and responsible wildlife observation, we can ensure that future generations will also get to experience the majesty of the Brown Pelican.

Ready to witness the Brown Pelican in its natural habitat?

Book a paddle boarding or kayaking tour with us today and contribute to the ongoing efforts to protect these magnificent birds.

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