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