trees and sometimes on the ground. The nest is a bulky mass of sticks, lined
with coarse grasses and is built upon a platform made by laying heavier sticks
across the branches of the tree. As many as seven of these nests have been
found in one small mangrove tree.
When all available tree sites have been taken, the remaining birds
build upon the ground. These nests contain, as a rule, more grasses and
fewer sticks than those in the trees. The ground nests are built on small
piles of dirt, a few inches in height, and are walled around by dirt two or
three inches in height. Many of these nests are built just above the high
water mark and are frequently washed away. The pelican does not seem
to profit by this experience, because he immediately begins to rebuild his
nest at the same place.
The spacing of the group nests is usually regular and seems to be
arranged so that the birds on the nests can keep the area about clean, but
at the same time so that the various occupants cannot reach each other.
The ground between the nests is almost always kept clear of even fine
fragments, which the birds scrape up onto the walls of the nests.
The eggs of the brown pelican, one to three in a nest, are dull,
lusterless and dirty-white. They have a rough, granular surface and
are slightly smaller than those of the white pelican. It takes about
four weeks for the eggs to hatch, during which time Papa Pelican
does his share of the setting. The bird on