New York State Avian Records Committee

a committee of the New York State Ornithological Association

Gallery of New York Rarities
American White Pelican
Text by Willie D'Anna
Photographs by Willie D'Anna and Betsy Potter

A trio of American White Pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) was discovered in early May on Lake Ontario. These birds were subsequently seen on at least five other occasions between Rochester and Niagara Falls. Although I was surprised to find the species off of Goat Island, surrounded by the rapids of the Niagara River and miles from the other reported locations, they almost certainly were the same birds. All three appeared to be adults, lacking obvious dusky markings on the head or wing coverts. The bright orange of the bill and legs indicates high breeding plumage. Note, however, that the camera accentuates the red tones. Only one bird showed a fibrous plate on its bill, usually typical of adults in this plumage. Due to my considerable distance from the birds, which I estimated to be 350 yards, I was very pleased to be able to obtain images in which these birds are easily recognizable - the power of digiscoping!

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos), May 14, 2002
Nikon Coolpix 885 camera through a Nikon Fieldscope ED II scope with 30X lens
Photo copyright of Willie D'Anna 2002

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