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Strange Thanksgiving Bird Visitors

Jean Jackman tells of how pelicans flocked to the North Area Pond Thanksgiving of 2003.

Submitted by: Jean Jackman, November 16, 2007
This entry relates to past
Category(ies) of this entry: Nature, Neighborhood, Thanksgiving

One November day in 2003, I walked out to the North Area Habitat Pond and was surprised to see a few American White Pelicans. These huge, white birds are about five feet long with wingspans of nine feet. They have a distinctive yellow bill with a pouch.  They are common over at the Yolo Bypass and the Davis Wetlands, but here they were in our little storm water-retention and habitat pond. Their numbers steadily increased throughout the week before Thanksgiving.

On Thanksgiving Day, I walked with my family out to the pond to check them out.  The numbers had peaked.  There were about 50 flying overhead, displaying white and black wings.  There were about 50 preening, contorting, cleaning, twisting and turning on the islands, and about 50 swam in a synchronized fishing group, turning tail side up at the same moment as they did cooperative foraging.  It was a glorious sight and delightful to see so many people were out walking and enjoying it. 

I stood on the end of the long wildlife viewing platform.  And to my surprise, across the pond on the F Street side, stood a coyote, inside the fence, who obviously wanted a Thanksgiving bird too.  I needed to go home and tend to my turkey so I didn’t get to watch coyote’s strategies.  However, I’ll guess that it was one frustrated animal.

It all made for a memorable and joyous Davis Thanksgiving.
Too bad they have never done a repeat performance.  But maybe this year.

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