American White Pelicans, BraeBurn No. 5, January 9, 2018
This being the month of our nation’s birthday, it’s also BraeBirds American bird month.  Last year’s July bird was a Bald Eagle – there is no more American bird than that.  For this July, and subsequent Julys, you will see birds that are unequivocally American, or at least have “American” in their name.
Before heading to the driving range one January morning just before 8:00 AM, I decided to drive out to the lake that runs from hole 4 to 5 because I have seen more birds on those holes than on any other pair of holes.  And I was rewarded once again, this time seeing one of the largest birds of North America.  In fact, four of these large white birds had taken over the lake in front of the green on number 5.  This was a first time sighting at BraeBurn for me of an American White Pelican. I think it startled our resident Cormorants and Egrets because they were all sitting on the lake bulkhead as if watching in awe.
The American White Pelican weighs in at 16 pounds and sports a nine-foot wingspan.  Think about that.  If you are six feet tall and stretch your arms straight out to the side, you probably have a six-foot armspan.  Add three more feet to that and you have an American White Pelican wingspan.  They are that big.  I did not see the pelicans feeding before they flew off but they would have no problem scooping up fish from our ponds into their large pouches if they wanted to.  Later in the morning, I saw a flock of nineteen pelicans flying over BraeBurn and then, after that, a flock of eight circling us over hole number eight.  They are so large that they are easy to count.
The American White Pelican occupies northern Alberta and northwestern US states in the summer and migrates to southern California and the US and Mexican gulf coast for the winter.  Some range maps show that American White Pelicans are year-round residents along the central Texas Gulf Coast.  Perhaps that population decided to visit BraeBurn for one day last January.