Quite A Mouthful (Photo of the week)

The bill of a brown pelican balloons underwater as it scoops the water for fish
The bill of a brown pelican balloons underwater as it scoops the water for fish. Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-7D. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +2/3: 1/640 sec. at f/7.1

This week’s photo features a brown pelican fishing. What impressed me about this photos is just how big the pelican’s throat pouch balloons underwater. Often we just see the head as it comes up full of water (and hopefully fish), but here we can see the bill before any water starts to drain. Brown pelicans often dive for their food, whereas other pelican species prefer to scoop prey just below the surface of the water. Once the bill is above water, it must drain before the pelican can swallow what’s left over. During this time, fish can sometimes be seen jumping out of the throat pouch for freedom. In addition, other birds sometimes take this opportunity to steal fish out of the pelican’s mouth.