You might see these big-billed birds go crashing down into the waves. They look like airplanes taking a nosedive.
But really, these brown pelicans are plunging into the water to get a meal. They take up residence on the beaches here in late spring, and they almost always stay through November. Their journey starts in Mexico and Southern California. So by the time they get here, they’re ready to relax.
You can recognize brown pelicans by their elegant flying patterns. They often travel in single-file lines low over the water. If you’re here when they are, you can’t miss em’! These birds are four feet long and have a wingspan of seven feet.
There was concern that one day these big birds might simply disappear. Brown pelicans are extremely sensitive to toxins and chemical pollutants. They neared extinction in the late 70’s because of the pesticide DDT. Luckily, they’re doing better now. They’ve even begun exhibiting courting behavior, signaling that they might begin nesting south of Carmel. That’s something no one in this area has seen for over thirty years.