Pelicans and a Game of Chicken

American White Pelicans at the Horicon Marsh

American White Pelicans

A large flock of American White Pelicans swim and scoop up fish for breakfast at the Horicon Marsh on this warm Monday morning.  Grayish coloring on the head and neck is typical in the postbreeding adult.

Pelicans and Egrets at the Horicon Marsh

A Game of Chicken with Great Egrets

A nonverbal bird social dynamic was evident.  Two Great Egrets stood and watched as the flock of pelicans moved en masse toward them.  In the avian game of chicken, the egrets decided to take off.  When the game was played between the pelicans and a Great Blue Heron, the heron stood his ground.  The pelicans swam within several feet of him and the entire flock made a 180 degree turn.

American White Pelican at the Horicon Marsh

An American White Pelican Comes in for a Landing and Joins the Flock

Pelicans soared overhead in a coordinated aerial display.  Their wingspans can stretch over 9 and a half feet.

Female Hooded Merganser at the Horicon Marsh

Female Hooded Merganser

In contrast to the social pelicans, this petite female Hooded Merganser floated alone.  She only weighs about a pound.  Her nest would be in a tree cavity or nesting box.  Hooded Mergansers are usually done nesting in June.  The Hooded Merganser is the only Merganser restricted to North America.

Juvenile Black-necked Stilt at the Horicon Marsh

Juvenile Black-necked Stilt

The Merganser didn’t have any little ones nearby, but the Black-necked Stilts are still raising their broods.  This juvenile had white-edged feathers in a scalloped pattern.  He enjoyed wading along the auto tour.

Black-necked Stilts at the Horicon Marsh

Black-necked Stilt Family

His parent kept a watchful eye while he enjoyed his outing with his sibling.

You never know what you will see on an outing at the Horicon Marsh.  If you have a Monday off, this is a relaxing place to spend it.

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