While visiting Viña del Mar a small city on the coast of Chile I was captivated by the pelicans I found at the river mouth. Pelicans are very gracious birds as they soar above the water and land without causing too much of a disturbance to the water surface. They are gracious when in motion, moving elegantly on and above the water.
In level flight they fly with their long heads held back on their shoulders and their bills resting on their folded necks, propelling themselves with slow, powerful beats of their broad wings.
I am not a bird watcher so couldn’t actually tell you if these were the Peruvian Pelican or the Brown pelican, both can be found here on the Chilean coast.
These pelicans were surface-swimming in a group, foraging for fish by driving them into shallow water by beating their wings on the surface. When fish congregate in the shallows, the pelicans simply plunged their heads into the water to scoop them up.
Pelicans are strong swimmers, as their large webbed feet make powerful paddles. The feet are also used as a brake when the birds are landing on water. When taking off from water they hop with feet together to gain speed.
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