Juvenile Brown Pelican gliding over the Gulf of MexicoJuvenile Brown Pelican gliding over the Gulf of Mexico – Nikon D200, handheld, f10, 1/320, ISO 200, Nikkor 80-400mm VR at 400mm, natural light, not baited

In Florida it was not uncommon for me to see Brown Pelicans gliding just barely above the surface of the Gulf of Mexico like the juvenile shown in my image. At times I would see a small flock of Brown Pelicans gliding and at other times it might be just a single bird. Gliding just above the waters surface saves energy because of reduced drag due to ground effect. I’ve seen Brown Pelicans so close to the waters surface while gliding that their primaries just barely touch the water but typically they are a few inches over the surface.