Rio Grande Pelicans

Local News

Where the Rio Grande meets the Gulf of Mexico is a prime feeding area for pelicans, and as Richard Moore shows us, the birds have a little fun at the mouth of the river mixing their fishing with surfing.

The sun is just beginning to peek above the far horizon as waves roll in on Boca Chica beach.

Southward down the beach at the mouth of the Rio Grande, with the Mexican lighthouse looming in the distance, scores of white pelicans fish for breakfast where river meets Gulf.
           
Paddling into the surf, they perform their marvelously choreographed aquatic ballet dipping their bills in unison.  Encountering  initial waves, the pelicans gracefully turn and take flight back upriver where they will land and repeat the process
once again riding the flowing river toward the surf and scooping up fish along the way.

While some groups of pelicans seem to prefer middle of the river route to surf zone, others are content to seine for fish along the bank where they are joined by a scattering of Brown pelicans.
           
Unlike our resident Brown pelicans, wintering white pelicans do not dive, but rather swim leisurely along dipping their large pouched bills as they scoop up fish.
           
On this day however, the native Brown pelicans seem to be imitating the fishing technique of their visiting white cousins, as they too employ the dipping rather than diving method.
           
Apparently, there are plenty of fish stacked up along the shore where the bank drops off steeply, and the pelicans are having no trouble securing their sustenance.
           
Meanwhile, the surf contingent continues to ply their efforts, where on occasion rather than pirouette and take immediate flight back, they choose to ride the waves.
           
You just can’t help but believe these wave riding pelicans are having fun, as they enjoy a little TexMex surfing at the mouth of the Rio Grande.

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