The White Pelican, one of the largest birds in North American, can have a wingspan of up to nine feet. With fall upon us here in Southwest Florida, this large bird is one to keep an eye out for with it's bright white breast and black outlined wings often circling in unison high above the Southwest Florida coastline, where the White Pelican calls home for the winter months. If not high in the sky, the White Pelican can be seen in large flocks resting on a sand bar or oyster mound in the back bays of Sanibel, Captiva and North Captiva.

Unlike the smaller Brown Pelican, the White Pelican does not dive for fish. Instead, it dips it's bill into the water scooping up fish in a large pouch. Often this is done at night and done by feel but can also be observed during the day, fishing by sight. These flocks will sometimes forage cooperatively, lining up and driving fish toward shallow water, making the catch a little easier.

The White Pelican is a sure sight of the Winter season in Southwest Florida. If you see just a few there's a chance many more are right behind. Good luck seeing the great flocks show up!