2. The Brown Pelican

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Pelicans are well known throughout the Louisiana region. The brown pelican is actually the state bird of Louisiana. The brown pelican is also the national bird of several Caribbean nations including Turks and Caicos and Barbados.  The New Orleans basketball team named themselves after it. Of course, they also created a mascot to give children nightmares. The brown pelican loves the water. They can now be found on essentially every coastline in the United States as well as Mexico, Caribbean Islands and the north part of South America. The sight of a pelican dive bombing fish from the air is pretty exciting to watch.

Cause for Near Extinction

The brown pelican suffered from a lot of the same issues that the peregrine falcon and several other birds that have headed towards extinction. The specific issue was the use of pesticides and specifically of DDT. The DDT managed to make the birds’ shells far too thin. This meant that the eggs didn’t last until the chicks were ready to hatch. The brown pelican population dropped down heavily. While brown pelicans were also occasionally hunted, it really was the pesticides that almost took down the brown pelican.

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Reasons for Recovery

When the United States government banned DDT, the brown pelican received a reprieve.  As soon as DDT was removed the birds were suddenly able to once again breed and produce proper eggs. Well, it wasn’t immediate, but the first generation born after the DDT problems did not suffer from them and were able to lay eggs appropriately. Once they were laying full clutches of hatchlings, there population was quick and plentiful. The brown pelican has managed to bring themselves back to a strong population. Currently, it’s estimated they have over 650,000 birds. The brown pelican has been removed from the endangered list and is considered safe now.


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