Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Adopt a Bird Spotlight: Scoop (American White Pelican)

Scoop's Story

Species: American white pelican
Rescued: October 2004

Scoop was rescued from a pond in West Alton, MO near Ameren UE's Portage des Sioux power plant in October 2004. Even though he was unable to fly due to an old shoulder injury that had already healed, he had survived in this small pond for approximately three months. However, due to approaching winter weather, he had to be rescued. Upon examining the injured wing, the veterinarian found that it had been badly broken, healed improperly, and now required the tip of the wing to be amputated.

Scoop now has his own enclosure on our upper trail. He has adapted well to life at WBS and is fast becoming a visitor favorite. If you visit him and are lucky enough to see him fully open his beak, you will quickly understand how he got his name. It takes a lot of fish to fill the pouch below that bill!

Your adoption donation will help fill his pouch with lots of yummy fish, as well as defray the cost of his housing, medical care, etc.

To adopt Scoop, simply click our donation button, make a donation of $100, and specify in your payment notes: Adopt-a-bird: SCOOP. Also include your name, phone number, and mailing address so that we can send you your adoption materials!

Every donation helps to feed, house, and provide medical care for the bird of your choice! Adopt-A-Bird Parents Receive:

  • *A personal visit with the bird you adopt!!!!! Call 636-861-3225 to set up a time for
  • your personal visit.
  • * Certificate of Adoption
  • * Color photo of the bird you've adopted
  • * Sponsorship Card
  • * One year's subscription to Mews News (our quarterly newsletter)
  • * Life History and Natural History of the bird
  • * 10% Discount off WBS merchandise
  • * Invitation to Sponsors-only events like Camera Day
  • * Discounts on WBS Special Events
  • * WBS Decal

Natural History

American white pelican
Pelecanus erythorhynchos

Description Adults—white with black primaries and outer secondaries; yellowish pouch connected to the lower mandible that stretches up to six inches; webbed feet are bright orange; legs are orange and extremely short Immature—mostly white wing coverts mottled head and neck grayish; Juvenile—dusky overall

Sex: sexes indistinguishable except during breeding season when the male develops a fibrous plate on the upper part of the beak, the crest becomes bright yellow, and the bill becomes bright orange; the “horn” is shed after the eggs are laid

Age: 12-34 years

Length: 60 in.

Wingspan: 8-9.5 ft.

Weight: 15-20 lbs.

Habitat: brackish and freshwater lakes, salt bays, marshes, beaches and rivers

Status: not currently threatened, but is “listed” as a “species of special concern”

Range: northern California, western Nevada, Utah, Colorado, ortheastern South Dakota, southwestern Minnesota and occasionally the central coast of Texas; they winter along the Pacific in Central California, south along the Mexican coast to Guatemala and Nicaragua; also along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico; occasionally found along the Mississippi River

Behavior: they nest in colonies of several hundred pairs on islands in remote lakes of inland North America; female lays 2-3 chalky white eggs in a shallow depression on the ground; both parents incubate and feed the young by regurgitation; young are dependent for about 5 months

Diet: more than 4 pounds of fish per day; American white pelicans do not dive to catch prey—it simply floats along the water and scoops up fish with it’s enormous bill; the bill can hold 3 gallons of water; after fish are caught, the bill is pointed downward allowing the water to drain out; often fish in groups

Vocalization: adults rarely make any noise, but when they do it is usually a low grunt

√ Pelicans have a vertebra in their necks which prevents them from ever raising their face

Adopt A Bird spotlights are written and photographed by Gay Schroer.

1 comment:

Pelican Lights said...

That's actually pretty funny because I remember this one time I went on a family vacation and on this family vacation while being in San Francisco I took a steady picture of a seagull that was simply standing still. And right before I took the picture Mr. Seagull here decided to spread its wings and take off! But... Little did the bird know I took probably the nicest picture in the world of the seagull in mid air with wings completely expanded in mid flight. Sounds cool ey?? :)