Readers’ wildlife videos

December 5, 2019 • 7:30 am

We’re back to the “readers’ wildlife” feature, and I’ll put up one video from a reader and supplement it with two penguin videos I took.

First, reader John Runnels from Louisiana sent a video from Baton Rouge with a gazillion pelicans. His notes simply say this: “White Pelicans, University Lake, Baton Rouge, LA, 14 November 2019.”. The American white pelican has the binomial Pelecanus erythrorhynchos.  

By the way, if you have anything to do with Cornell’s great All About Birds site, could you tell them to put the scientific binomial of the birds on their pages? I can’t find it, and thus don’t often link to their site. Tell me, for instance, where you can find the Latin binomial on the page for white pelicans!

John’s videos:

Here’s another one of John’s from late October, called “Pelicans cleared for takeoff”:

My penguin videos. Here’s a gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua) walking clumsily around on Greenwich Island (see post here). After tumbling a bit, it toboggans, stands up, and has a satisfying scratch:

And here are some gentoo penguins porpoising in the waters around Vernadsky Research Base, the Ukrainian science station that we visited on November 20. (I miss Antarctica!) They may be clumsy on land, as above, but in the water they are agile and beautiful.



11 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife videos

  1. All About Birds site: all the birds I’ve looked at have a scientific binomial displayed & you can search by binomial too. Click the “* Overview” tab immediately beneath the common name & you get all the outline info starting with, for example:

    American White Pelican
    Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
    ORDER: Pelecaniformes
    FAMILY: Pelecanidae

    P.S. The Looking for ID Help? feature is great for me, a non-birder, you “Get Instant ID help for 650+ North American birds,” it’s called “Merlin Bird ID” & it’s on all the pages as far as I’ve looked.

    1. P.S. in the first video by John Runnels [nice work!] I was puzzled as to why the pelicans are bunched up on the water while dipping for fish – that must usually reduce the prey availability per pelican, but this is explained on the * OVERVIEW tab:

      Sometimes, groups of pelicans work together to herd fish into the shallows for easy feeding. Look for them on inland lakes in summer and near coastlines in winter.

      1. Thanks for the info Michael. I miss watching the pelicans that often stopped at our lake in Iowa in the fall and spring. Pelicans almost always fish in groups and they do this for long periods. I have seen groups of 10 or 20 working together go along the banks driving the fish to shallow water. They will go clear around the 25 acre lake doing this.

        1. I wondered how long it would take them to almost ‘fish out’ [barring the smartest, fastest & luckiest fish] that lake in the video. I have a picture in my head of the pelican gang moving from lake to lake hoovering up fish as they go. 🙂

      2. The recently Broadcast programme on Europe in David Attenborough’s new ‘Seven Worlds, One Planet’ series included fantastic footage of Great White Pelecans (Pelecanus onocrotalus) in the Danube delta mugging cormorants to steal fish from them .

  2. We saw a few dozen whit pelicans on the Snake River (Idaho) this summer and fall. We counted something like 100 in a flock on Lowell Lake. They are always a treat to see. I especially like their manner of flight which is very smooth and steady. They tend to stay in tight formation. Another aspect that is odd is the male beak growth during mating season. They grow a “fin” on the top beak.

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