Big, beautiful American White Pelicans

Adult American White PelicanAdult American White Pelican

Yesterday at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge there were two American White Pelicans that were close enough to photograph as they floated on the Bear River, it was a cloudless morning so the river was a gorgeous blue which always sets off the whites of these big, beautiful birds.

American White Pelican on the Bear RiverAmerican White Pelican on the Bear River

This pelican was sporting a long, shaggy “do” that would stand straight up as the wind blew. Photographing these large white birds can present exposure challenges, I tossed a few over exposed images into my delete bin but for the most part the series I took came out very well.

American White Pelicans breed here in Utah and many nest on isolated islands in the Great Salt Lake, they often fly long distances to freshwater locations such as Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge to capture fish for their young as the Great Salt Lake near those islands is too hyper saline to have fish.

Happy Friday,



  1. Tami May 28, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Some of my favorite birds! We have them here in Minnesota and I get to see them on a regular basis at work – seems like we always have at least one pelican in rehab…

    • Mia McPherson May 28, 2013 at 9:35 am

      Tami, thanks for your comment. They are great birds and it is always sad when they need to go to a rescue or rehab facility.

  2. Mia McPherson May 27, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Thanks to everyone who commented, I appreciate it!

  3. Julie Brown May 27, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    Superb detail!

  4. Tammy Karr May 24, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Excellent captures, Mia! You definitely nailed the exposure; such beautiful color and detail! White Pelicans are magnificent!

  5. Wally May 24, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Very nice job of handling the exposure! I love watching these guys when they get together and do their “cooperative fishing” thing!

  6. eric c11 May 24, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    nice portrait, the straits feathers on the head give a nice presentation too
    have a nice evening mia

  7. Bob Bushell May 24, 2013 at 11:59 am

    It’s a large looking species that you’ve given us, it is fantastic. And it’s down to your photographs, clear and brilliant.

  8. M. Firpi May 24, 2013 at 9:43 am

    You captured the vivid colours of their bills and water. Their plumage here is beautiful.

  9. Lynn Koch May 24, 2013 at 8:51 am

    I was so excited the first time I saw a brown pelican. Your photos of these White Pelicans are really lovely! Pelicans are such graceful birds and it’s so much fun watching them hunt (fish?).

  10. kim May 24, 2013 at 8:10 am

    the blue and yellow look great together, beautiful images mia. they look so different than the aussie pelicans, amazing birds

  11. biobabbler May 24, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Oh, delightful. I adore those creatures, and I LOVE to watch them fly & hunt. THANKS for the happy treat!

  12. Stu May 24, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Excellent Tone and Detail. I wonder, what if we had a mouth that size, how mealtimes might be different 😉

  13. Ricky May 24, 2013 at 6:31 am

    Gorgeous bird Mia. One of my favorite birds.

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