Monday, June 1, 2009

What Is That Thing?

What Is That Thing On Scoop's Bill?

If you've been to the World Bird Sanctuary lately and walked the trail just past the wildlife hospital you may have noticed that Scoop, one of our American White Pelicans, has a very strange looking growth on his bill.  And, No, there's nothing wrong with him.

This strange looking growth is called a horn and is part of some of the changes he undergoes in the Spring when his body tells him it's time to find a mate.  In addition to the horn, his coloration around the eyes becomes quite brilliant also.  I'm not sure that a growth on the nose would be much of a "come hither" quality in a human, but apparently to a female pelican it's irresistable.

Our other Pelican, Mudflap, (who it turns out is also a male) has a horn also; however his horn and coloration are not quite as pronounced as Scoop's.
If you'd like to see this springtime phenomenon you'll have to hurry, as it doesn't last very long.  Both Scoop and Mudflap are on display in their large enclosure every day--unless they happen to be out appearing at an educational program somewhere.

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