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American white pelicans: What a wingspan!

The American white pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) can have a wingspan of up 9.5 feet. That’s about two feet wider than the more commonly seen brown pelican’s wingspan.

One way the American white pelican feeds is by skimming just above the water, dipping their beaks under the surface and scooping up small fish with their beak’s pouch, usually in shallow water and wetlands.

A few flocks of white pelicans were recently seen at Pea Island Refuge.

For local refuge conditions, review the information on refuge websites and/or call ahead. At this time, the Manteo Office for the Coastal NC National Wildlife Refuges Complex is staffed for emergency calls and general information and may be reached at 252-473-1131 Ext 224 email alligator_river@fws.gov for information about all refuges in eastern North Carolina.

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