Tomorrow I return to my natural habitat. Today we walked under warm sun on a soft white sand beach, gentle waves lapping. A brown pelican, intent on scooping small fishes from the ripples along the shore, looked like a messenger from an ancient world.
Like ospreys and bald eagles, brown pelicans became endangered after the pesticide DDT worked its way into the food chain in the 50s and 60s. The Eastern brown pelican was removed from the federal endangered list in 2009. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 killed thousands of brown pelicans, once again placing the pelican in danger. Oil slicks destroyed favorite nesting grounds in Louisiana.