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I saw them in the sky first,
at dusk.
They were headed for the Big Pond.
Ann watched them set down,
gently, tucking their wide,
black-tipped wings,
long bills and gullets. Maybe 150
American White Pelicans.

Next morning, they were gone from the water,
but filled the skies—soaring south,
then north, then circling
the neighborhood. They settled
back on the Big Pond in the evening
and have come and gone the last two days.

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They fish as a group,
swimming wing-to-wing—
literally herding the fish—
then dip their heads—
their tail feathers upended—
and bring up the fish,
tipping their heads to swallow.

DSCN5531Heads down…

DSCN5542…tails up

Kaw Lake, about 40 miles north,
frequently draws pelicans.
We’ve had fly-overs before;
one or two on the water. But never
a big flock,
for days.
The shallowness of the pond
is a draw this year,
making the fishing easy.
I wonder
if they could wipe out
the fish population,
but the fish might have succumbed
to drought eventually anyway,
as some have already.
There’s is no way we’re chasing away
these beautiful, large, elegant birds!

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IMG_8942                                                                                                      Photos by Ann Denney and Pat Hoerth