New Year Snowfall

Richard Moore Outdoor Report

While it may not be a snowy New Year in the Rio Grande Valley, Richard Moore shows us there is a feathery white presence here in the form of wintering white pelicans.

Gliding gracefully in with their nine-foot wings spread wide, gleaming White pelicans touchdown in the Rio Grande Valley to spend the winter.      

While it may not be snowing in deep South Texas this New Year, the snow-white plumage of hundreds of White pelicans certainly brightens the landscape.

White pelicans are among the largest birds in North America, with their nearly ten-foot wingspan and weighing some 15 to 20 pounds, but despite their size they are enchantingly elegant fliers.

Often congregating in small groups, they cooperate with one another to corral prey, and each bird can easily consume four pounds of fish daily.  Rather than dive like brown pelicans, White pelicans perform wonderfully choreographed aquatic ballets as they elegantly gather fish.

Equally at home in the hyper saline bay or freshwater inland waterways, wintering White pelicans readily share their aquatic domain with resident brown pelicans.

The big White pelicans dwarf their brown cousins, who occasionally join them on local resacas. While there may be an occasional perching dispute among the White pelicans, this lone Brown pelican incurs no ill will.

White pelicans are enthusiastic bathers and meticulous groomers, thus maintaining their snowy plumage radiantly white.

Perhaps, inspired by all the fun his larger cousins are having, the Brown pelican happily joins in the gleeful splashing at the water park.

If we put the bathing in slow motion, you can appreciate just how refreshing this dip in a Valley resaca is for our fabulously feathered winter visitors.

       

You certainly don’t have to venture out into the wildlands to enjoy these snowy wonders as they are quite at home touching down on Valley waterways like this picturesque resaca in downtown Brownsville.

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