American White Pelican
© Bryan Ericksen
August 29, 2011
An American White Pelican scoops a large carp into its bill pouch on a pond in Saratoga Springs, Utah.
Bryan Ericksen took the photo in spring 2010. He had been photographing the birds for several days, and on the day he took this picture, he could see that they were acting differently. “I then noticed all the carp spawning in the water,” he says. “The pelicans all flew in and would try to grab these massive fish. They would battle for several minutes trying to get them down their throats. It was amazing that they could actually swallow them, but some of the bigger fish eventually got away. I’ve also seen pelicans help each other keep the carp in their mouths. It truly was a battle.”
The carp, which weigh about five pounds each, are an introduced species in nearby Utah Lake. State and federal agencies are working to remove 30 million pounds of carp — about 58 million fish — from the lake in an effort to restore the native June sucker
, a fish found only in Utah Lake.
Bryan used a Canon 50D and a 100-400mm lens to take the photo.See more photos of pelicans:
• Australian Pelican
• Young Brown Pelicans
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