Diving for food

Brown Pelicans soar high above the ocean scoping out the site of their next dive, then fold their wings and drop headfirst like an arrow toward the surface.

This bird is circling to get into position for its dive, probably 100 feet above the school of fish it is following.

This bird is circling to get into position for its dive, probably 100 feet above the school of fish it is following.  Does greater height help them see the fish schools more clearly?

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican diving

Brown Pelican diving

An Olympic 10 for little entry splash!

An Olympic 10 for little entry splash!

How do they keep from bashing their heads on the rocks?

How do they keep from bashing their heads on the rocks?

Brown Pelicans are one of the two pelican species that dive for their food — the other species hunt much closer to the water surface. Hitting the water surface continually from great height would seem to be injurious, but these pelicans buffer the impact with air sacs (part of their respiratory system) located between their neck and body that absorb the shock.

Brown Pelican

6 thoughts on “Diving for food

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