I wanted to share an image of an American White Pelican in summer plumage today because summer is upon us and today marks America’s Independence Day.
Adult American White Pelicans have three plumage phases annually, nonbreeding (September through February), breeding (February through June) and summer (June through August). Those plumage phases are also known as, in the same order, Definitive Basic Plumage, Definitive Alternate Plumage and Supplemental Plumage.
The summer plumage is easy to identify because the normally white crown and nape plumes are replaced with short medium to dark gray to black feathers. By then end of summer those dark feathers will be replaced with short white feathers on the crown and nape.
This image was taken on my most recent trip to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge at the end of June. There are large numbers of American White Pelicans at the refuge right now.
Why a pelican instead of a Bald Eagle on Independence Day? Well, it has the word “American” in its name, it is as simple as that.
Life is good.