What IS That Bird?
It’s the California Brown Pelican
One of my favorite sights when walking along the Carlsbad boardwalk, next to the ocean of course, are the pelicans flying overhead. These unusual looking birds are fascinating to watch whether on the ocean or flying overhead.
The California brown pelican, next to the seagull, is probably the most prevalent sea bird we see here along the Southern California coast. These brown pelicans are particularly prevalent at the Agua Hedionda lagoon, just north of the Encina power plant, where they tend to hang out, most likely due to great places to roost in the lagoon because of the Carlsbad Aquafarm which includes a fish hatchery (white sea bass) and shellfish farming (e.g., mussels, abalone, oysters).
No doubt there are some side benefits from living there if you’re a pelican.
The pelicans tend to fly in groups, seemingly effortlessly with the ocean breezes, along the coast highway which parallels the 7 miles of Carlsbad coastline, although you’ll see loners, too.
You won’t see them on the beach as you do the seagulls since they prefer to fish directly from the ocean and the lagoon rather than scavenge as the seagulls do.