"A FUNNY BIRD IS ........."
THE PELICAN: This peculiar fellow, with his tremendous beak
and pouch, friendly nature, and oftimes [sic] amusing antics, is a familiar sight
along Florida coasts.
One of the largest birds of North America, the pelican gets its
name from the Latin word meaning "woodpecker" and the Greek word
meaning "axe." In the classification of birds, the term given the order to
which the pelican belongs is derived from two Greek words signifying
"covered" and "feet," indicating that all four toes are connected by a
web. This distinguishes it from the duck family which have only three of
their toes webbed.
There are only about 12 species of pelicans in the world. These
are widely distributed in warm regions where they frequent the waters of
sea, lake and river, feeding almost entirely on fish. Pelicans catch their
fish by scooping them up in their bill as they swim along on the water, or
by plunging upon them from the air. The fish are then stored in their
pouches for eating later or to feed their young.
The pelican has an enormous, flattened beak. The upper bill
ends with a strong hook which curves over the tip of the lower. To this
lower bill the pouch is fastened. The skin of the pouch stretches out
and becomes enlarged as fish are