Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Louisiana Brown Pelican

Blogger's Note: More than just our state bird, the Louisiana Brown Pelican is a symbol of the renewing force of the wetlands.  Months after the BP Oil spill, flocks of pelicans returned home to nesting grounds to begin anew. 

Above: A hungry pelican chick waits for his mother to return to the nest.

From the State Symbols USA article Louisiana State Bird - Brown Pelican:

"The state bird of Louisiana is unique among the world's seven species of pelicans. The brown pelican is found along the ocean shores and not on inland lakes. It is the only dark pelican, and also the only one that plunges from the air into the water to catch its food.  Louisiana's official nickname is 'The Pelican State' and the brown pelican appears on Louisiana's state flag, state seal, the official state painting. 

Pesticide use caused Pelicans to stop nesting along the Louisiana coast in 1961, and they completely disappeared by 1966. Louisiana began attempting to re-populate its coastline by transporting Florida fledglings into the state. The US Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Brown Pelican as an endangered species in 1970, but the Federal Government declared the Brown Pelican 'recovered' in Louisiana in 1995 . About 40,000 Brown Pelicans call "The Pelican State" their home today.

Above: A mother pelican attends to her brood of young chicks.

The brown pelican was designated the state bird of Louisiana in 1966. Early European settlers were impressed with the pelican's generous and nurturing attitude toward their young, and the brown pelican has been a symbol of Louisiana since that time."