Thursday, March 10, 2016

Brown Pelican Photos

Photographing Brown Pelicans is a Fun Challenge 

Brown Pelican photo by mbgphoto
Pelicans are fascinating birds to watch.When you see them waddle on the ground it is difficult to imagine them soaring gracefully through the skies. However, walk along coast in southern USA and you will dozens of them doing just that in the skies above you.

 I have photographed pelicans sitting on rocks, on piers and on the beach. The other morning as the sun came up I noticed a flock of pelicans gently gliding across the sky in the early morning light. I started snapping photos to get just the right shot of a pelican in front of the rising sun.

Photography and pelicans just seem to go together. I hope you enjoy the selection of photos that I am sharing on this page.  

photos by Mary Beth Granger

Pelican and Lighthouse 

pelicans at fishing harbor 

One of the best places to photograph pelicans is by a fishing harbor. You will always find lots of pelicans sitting around the fishing boats. Since their main source of food is fish, they can have quite a feast when the boats come in from a fishing trip and clean their fish. I took this photo early in the morning at the fishing docks across from the Jupiter Inlet lighthouse.
greeting card from florida
Source: Mary Beth Granger

Facts about Brown Pelicans - Pelecanus occidentalis

As I was preparing to write this page, I did a bit of reading on brown pelicans to gather some facts. I found them to be a very fascinating subject. I have listed my sources in the link list near the end of this page. Here are some of the facts that I found interesting.
  • Heaviest bird capable of flight
  • Adults weight as much as 10-17 pounds
  • Size 50 inches with a wing spread of 6 1/2 feet.
  • Diet is almost entirely fish
  • Found on coast of southern USA and south to the northern coasts of Brazil and Chile.
  • Live along coasts, salt bays, beaches and ocean. Mostly over shallow waters.
  • Known for their huge bill and expandable pouch
  • Male pelican selects a nesting site and then tries to attract a female using head motions.
  • Several days after nest is completed the female pelican lays 2-3 eggs. Eggs take about 1 month to hatch.
  • Both male and female pelicans incubate and care for their young.

Pelicans on the Beach - morning at the beach

pelicans on the beach photo by mbgphoto

About 8:00 one morning I was taking a walk at Jupiter Beach Park when I came across hundreds of pelicans on the beach. I walked up closer and found that thousands of small fish had washed up on shore and the pelicans and other birds were having a feast. I had almost left that morning without a camera, but at the last minute put my small point and shoot camera around my neck. I was sure glad I had the camera because I was able to get many photos of the pelicans. The photo above shows the sight at the beach and the ones below shows some closeups of a couple of pelicans that I cropped from the bigger photos.

pelican on the beach photo by mbgphoto

Pelicans in Flight - morning at the beach

pelicans in flight photo by mbgphoto

I could sit for hours and watch pelicans in flight and coming in for a landing. The photo above shows one in flight and the photo below is a pelican come in for a water landing.

pelicans over the ocean photo by mbgphoto

Pelicans at Fishing Pier 

It was 7:30 in the morning in Jupiter Florida and the fishing boats were leaving for a day of deep sea fishing. I was taking my sister and brother-in-law to meet their boat when I captured this photo of the pelicans all sitting on the piers. I love the look of them each sitting on a post. They appeared to be waiting for the boats to return and clean their fish.

pelicans at the pier photo by mbgphoto

On the Pier

pelicans on the pier photo by mbgphoto


Pelican Poem

Ogden Nash??

When I was young I heard a poem about a pelican that has stuck in my mind. I had always thought it was written by Ogden Nash( and I have found it is often attributed to Nash) but I have discovered it was written by Dixon lanire Merritt around 1910. I find it to be a catchy limerick about the pelican.
A wonderful bird is a pelican,
His bill will hold more than his belican.
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week;
But I’m damned if I see how the helican.
sunrise in florida photo by mbgphoto

Pelicans at Sunrise

soaring over ocean

I love to sit on our Florida balcony at sunrise and watch the pelicans soar over the ocean. I have spent many mornings trying to capture the birds in the early morning sunrise. Here is one of my efforts.

Pelican on Beach Mouse Pad
Pelican on Beach Mouse Pad by mbgphoto
View more Pelican Mousepads at
Here are two of my latest Pelican photos. These Pelicans were resting on the rocks by the pier in Jupiter Florida.
pelican on the beach photo by mbgphoto
pelican resting on the beach photo by mbgphoto

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. Love your pelican photos, Mary Beth. And, I remember that pelican poem! :) Jupiter, Florida looks like a wonderful place to visit and see the pelicans.

  2. Pelicans are near and dear to my photographer's heart. Your pelican moments here stir up many fond memories of my previous island life. Like you, I can spend hours, even entire days focused on these fascinating creatures. Enjoyed this photo journal very much. Reminds us of why we should always carry a camera (and be in the right place at the right time).

  3. Wonderful photos, and thanks for the interesting facts. So this why I haven't seen a Pelican in Western New York :)

  4. Really beautiful photos Mary Beth! I feel like I am right there on the beach with these fascinating pelicans.

  5. I absolutely love those photos, especially the close-ups. The verse you quoted is also one of my favorites.


Most Recent Reviews on Review This Reviews

Search for Reviews by Subject, Author or Title

The Review This Reviews Contributors

SylvestermouseSylvestermouseDawn Rae BDawn Rae BMbgPhotoMbgPhotoBrite-IdeasBrite-IdeasWednesday ElfWednesday ElfOlivia MorrisOlivia MorrisTreasures by BrendaTreasures by BrendaThe Savvy AgeThe Savvy AgeMargaret SchindelMargaret SchindelRaintree AnnieRaintree AnnieLou16Lou16Sam MonacoSam MonacoTracey BoyerTracey BoyerRenaissance WomanRenaissance WomanBarbRadBarbRadBev OwensBev OwensBuckHawkBuckHawkDecorating for EventsDecorating for EventsHeather426Heather426Coletta TeskeColetta TeskeMissMerFaeryMissMerFaeryMickie_GMickie_G


Review This Reviews is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor

Susan DeppnerSusan Deppner

We may be apart, but
You Are Not Forgotten

“As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and or Etsy (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from purchases.” Disclosure Statement