As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

4,000 miles from home, rare giant pelican appears on Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island's a long way from the Nile, but a great white pelican has appeared at the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge there —  a good 4,000 miles from its home range, and the first time the Old World species has been recorded in North America.

Unlike the more common brown pelicans seen in Southwest Florida, which max out around 11 pounds and have a 6 1/2-foot wingspan, or even the larger American white pelican, which winters here, these birds can tip the scales at 33 pounds, with an almost 12-foot wingspan.

First spotted Sunday, the stray pelican immediately made waves in the birding community, including among "Ding" Darling staff, who promptly made it the refuge's Facebook cover photo.

“A magnificent bird,” declared refuge wildlife biologist Jeremy Conrad.

Low-tide birding at 'Ding' is always excellent this time of year, “but this sighting just adds another level of excitement here at the refuge,” says supervisory ranger Toni Westland.




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