This American White Pelican had just landed in a pond near Bozeman, Montana (USA) with four other Pelicans. While the wind was carrying white flakes of snow across the landscape, it lifted its massive wings to dust off the snow.
Many American white pelican have a wingspan of about nine feet, excellent wings for long flights. When fishing on the water, they use their long orange bills with an expandable pouch for netting fish and other food items.
American white pelicans typically successfully raise just 1 of the 2 eggs they lay. Only 9.7% of clutches in one colony successfully raised 2 young to fledgling. Average mortality of that offspring through its first year of life is 41%. Average mortality from the 1st to 2nd year is 16%, and average mortality drops after that. The oldest recorded American white pelican in the wild was 26.4 years old. Nestlings and eggs die as a result of rolling out of nests, nest abandonment, starvation, attacks by other pelicans in the nesting colony, exposure, and predation. Adults are killed by severe weather, hitting wires, and diseases such as botulism. (Knopf and Evans, 2004).