We all know this nation was born from thirteen original colonies. My own ancestry predates most of these to one of the original Pilgrim families from the Mayflower (Gov William Bradford). This week exciting news was received at Huguenot Memorial Park. One of the stops on the Great Florida Birding Trail, Huguenot Memorial Park is a long-established nesting dune site for shorebirds such as Plovers, Royal Terns and Laughing gulls. A nesting colony of Brown Pelicans have established themselves in the dunes for the first time and will soon hatch some young.
The Brown Pelican of the Atlantic and Southern East Coast has a brown pouch while its Pacific cousin sports a reddish colored one. Pelicans incubate their eggs with the skin of their feet, literally standing on them. Use of pesticides such as DDT caused the egg shells to become thin and break nearly exterminating this species. They are making a strong comeback and the new colony on Huguenot Memorial Park will now add to their growing numbers. These first photos of the new colony are yours to share and in the coming weeks we will watch them become full -fledged “colonist”.
Brown Pelicans glide low over the water and often fly in "V-formations" like strange looking alien spacecraft. They plunge dive into the ocean head first and scoop up fish in their pouches before swallowing them. Gulls often try to steal the fish right out of their mouths, sometimes becoming a snack themselves. The oldest Brown Pelican of record was 43 years old. Adult breeding Brown Pelicans have a brown stripe on the back of the neck. Males are slightly larger in size but otherwise identical looking to the females.
In the coming weeks we will watch them grow along with the other shorebirds of the Park. I think I will name one of them “Bradford” after my Pilgrim ancestor. Blessings.