There are plenty of things to like about Florida: The world-famous Walt Disney World, the Orlando Eye, it’s beaches, theme parks, shopping malls, and many other attractions. But did you know that Florida is also known for being the natural habitat of many beautiful animals? The American White Pelican is one of the most beautiful birds you will ever see in your life that tourists and animal lovers from around the world flock (pun intended) to see. The White Pelican migrates to Florida in the winter from their colder summer homes in the north. When they arrive in Florida, these birds bring some of the most spectacular sights to behold. You’ll know that these birds are nearby due to their high pitched shrieks that can be heard from far away.
These exquisite large birds fly along the shores of Florida just a few inches above the seawater. At a distance, you might think that you are looking at the flock of swans, but these beautiful birds are white pelicans. Florida definitely has many amazing creatures, but we guarantee that some of the coolest ones you’ll see are the white pelican birds.
The White pelicans are characterized by their snowy white feathers and pink-tangerine shaded bills. Unlike their cousins the brown pelicans, they are shy in nature, they avoid flying long distances over open water, and they prefer to remain in isolated areas such as estuaries and lakes. They flock together while maintaining distance from other animals, including humans. These white pelicans migrate from their summer homes in the colder areas of North America to Florida and nearby areas in the fall and remain there until late spring, when they migrate back. This is the best time to see them before they leave for their long northern migration.
Pelicans, one of the largest birds in Northern America, have certain qualities that make them unique and different from other birds. If you are lucky enough to get closer to them, you can observe their food collection techniques, their teamwork, how they collectively herd their prey of fish, and various other special things about them. Unlike their cousins the brown pelican, these birds do not dive for their food – they catch their prey while swimming! They are characterized by a remarkable nine-foot wingspan and they fly gracefully in formation. One of the largest pelican birds in the world, they nest in massive colonies and migrate over land.
These white pelicans usually prefer to find safer, less traveled environments. They may include creeks, ponds, and mangrove islands – often within geographically protected areas. If you are already in Florida or planning to visit soon, these are some of the locations where you can find these beautiful birds:
Central Florida White Pelican Locations
Titusville – Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (Start at the Visitor’s Center)
Sebastian – Pelican Island
Melbourne – Viera Wetlands
Vero Beach – Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge
Oak Hill – Goodrich Seafood Restaurant
South Florida Locations
Bradenton – Cortez Village (off the Star Fish Seafood Company or Cortez Kitchen), Robinson Preserve, Anna Maria Island (bayside)
Sarasota – Myakka State Park, the Celery Fields, Benderson Park, Sarasota Bay
Placida – Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserve, Gasparilla Sound, White Pelican Island (see below)
Punta Gorda – Alligator Creek Preserve
Pine Island – Matlacha, Bokeelia (Pine Island Sound)