June 7, 2013

American white pelicans

American white pelicans at Pacheco Pond, Novato

I filmed some American white pelicans at Pacheco Pond a few weeks ago, thanks to a tip from John Christopher at DriveSavers. Their offices look out on Pacheco Pond, and they often see scenes like the one above. (DriveSavers recovered Pelican Media’s email database!)

30-million-year-old pelican beak fossil, found in France by N. Tourment and photographed by A. Louchart.

30-million-year-old pelican beak fossil, found in France by N. Tourment and photographed by A. Louchart.

Pelicans evolved 30 million years ago, on every continent except Antarctica, and most of the species are white. Whites are bigger than browns, with wingspans up to 11 feet, weighing over 30 pounds. Possibly because they’re so large, they can’t do the high dive; only brown pelicans can. Browns weigh about 8-10 pounds, with wingspans up to 7 feet. Whites prefer freshwater fish, and browns prefer salt.

Screening: Our screening of the first half hour of the rough cut went well at the May 8th Marine Mammal Center members’-only event, also attended by Michelle Bellizi of International Bird Rescue (where Gigi recuperated).

Music: We’ve been working with Bruce Kaphan, accomplished pedal steel guitar player and composer, on the music, and now have nine cues in the movie, with more to come. The pedal steel has a smooth, dreamy sound that goes well with “Pelican Dreams.”

Funding: Assuming we can raise completion funds, we applied for a CA Coastal Conservancy grant to help distribute the film, starting next spring. Meanwhile we have proposals pending at several foundations, and are on the lookout for individual “Pelican Angels” who might fly in and help out….

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One Response to “June 7, 2013”

  1. Sarah Says:

    I didn’t know white pelicans live here! Thanks for the fun facts re whites vs brown pelicans.

    Last year, I thrillingly found out that (tufted) puffins also live here. Until then, I’d always thought I would have to travel all the way to the northern reaches of Scotland just to see their wild native brethren.

    Bird-wise, those of us who live in the Bay area are so lucky that I’m jealous of … us. Haha! :-D

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