Date: 8/27/19 3:05 am
From: Ian Worley <iworley...>
Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] One Pelican or Two?
Hi all,

If you go to eBird, click on Explore, and select "Search Photos and
Sounds", and choose American White Pelican you can follow the molt look
for the head of the pelican through the summer to autumn transition. 
Use the menu to look at July photos, then look at August photos, and
then look at September photos.  You can follow the look of the back of
the head as it changes through the molt. Notice that not all the birds
look alike at the same time.  Also, not all birds will have black.

It should be easy to find photos in those three months that depict molt
stages similar to those seen with the Lake Champlain bird(s). I think
this should further help the conclusion that one pelican is more likely
than two.



On 8/26/2019 10:16 PM, Julie Filiberti wrote:
> My two cents….
> I took advantage of a calm day and spent the afternoon kayaking back out to the pelican today. I got very close and got myself some pretty close up views of the head. It was not at all concerned with my presence there, btw. Here is my checklist.
> After a good look today, I believe it is the same bird. This bird has a tinge of black remaining on the back of his head that you can see in one of my photos. I think it has molted most of the black in the time it has spent here, and has a little more left to go.
> It was a great day on the water!
> Julie
>> On Aug 26, 2019, at 8:36 AM, Maeve Kim <maevulus...> wrote:
>> Interesting research and speculation, Jim. It does seem more likely that one bird has undergone some plumage changes than that two rare vagrants have shown up at the same time in the same area - but anything is possible! That’s what makes birding so much fun.
>> Maeve Kim, Jericho Center
>>> On Aug 26, 2019, at 5:12 AM, Jim Mead <jimmead4...> wrote:
>>> VT birders,
>>> Bridget brings up a very good question. I looked at several photos of the
>>> pelican seen at Hen Island on July 21 & 22. They show black on the head and
>>> the tip end of the lower mandible. According to info found in The Sibley
>>> Guide to Birds, that particular look fits well for an adult summer bird
>>> (Jun-Aug). Then on Aug. 10th myself & others got a very long distance look
>>> at a pelican at Campbell Bay and noticed that it was showing no black on
>>> the head, which at that time I mentioned in my eBird report that it
>>> "suggested" that this pelican was not the same pelican as the one seen 20
>>> days earlier at Hen Island. I did a bit more research recently using The
>>> Sibley Guide again and saw that an adult non breeding bird (Sep-Feb) shows
>>> no black on the head or at the tip end of the lower mandible. Thus, the
>>> transition from adult summer plumage to adult non breeding plumage
>>> "appears" to occur during the months of July & August. On Aug. 24th, Henry
>>> Trombley & I saw the pelican at Campbell Bay from a canoe and saw that it
>>> had very little black showing on the head and no black seen on the tip end
>>> of the lower mandible.
>>> Now, because 20 days (pretty much 3 weeks) had passed between the two
>>> sightings (July 21-Aug 10), it seems "possible" to me that the bird seen at
>>> Hen Island "could" have had enough time to loose most of its' black
>>> markings. I am certainly no expert at determining that info so I cannot say
>>> for sure if that is true. However, it does seem (again-"possible") that the
>>> pelican seen at both locations "could" be the same bird.
>>> It would be interesting to read others opinions on this.
>>> Enjoy Birds,
>>> Jim Mead
>>> On Sun, Aug 25, 2019 at 6:48 PM Bridget Butler <birddiva...> wrote:
>>>> Greetings All!
>>>> At Birds & Beers VT the other night we got talking about the American White
>>>> Pelican sightings. We were in the Islands so many folks who had come out to
>>>> join us had seen the bird and some had taken photos. We had a mix of folks
>>>> who had seen a pelican at the Hen Island site, the Campbell Bay site or
>>>> both.
>>>> After a bit, we got to talking about whether there were two birds or one
>>>> bird that had possibly molted. So we started comparing photos from the Hen
>>>> Island bird and the Campbell Bay bird. We used the Islander newspaper photo
>>>> <>s by David Marsch (Hen) and then Juli Filberti's
>>>> photos <> she got from a kayak (Campbell).
>>>> So, here's our question that was left unanswered as we all used our phones
>>>> to try to look up info on molting for this species and decipher the molting
>>>> explanation on Birds of North America Online...IS IT THE SAME BIRD?
>>>> David's photos show black on the back of the head while Julie's do not.
>>>> Please explain why or why not as we were all trying to grapple with the
>>>> timing of molting for this species and whether or not enough time had
>>>> elapsed between when the bird was seen on Hen Island and then when it was
>>>> found again in Campbell Bay.
>>>> Thanks for playing along & helping us extend our Birds and Beers
>>>> conversation!
>>>> Bridget
>>>> *Bridget Butler*
>>>> *Bird Diva Consulting*
>>>> *PO Box 613*
>>>> *St. Albans VT 05478*
>>>> *(802) 393-4147*
>>>> *Website: <>*
>>>> *Facebook: <>*
>>>> *Twitter: @BirdDiva <>*
>>>> *Birder Broker: <
>>>>> *
>>>> *Crows In Vermont: <>*
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