Pelican Patrol
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

By Henry H. Mitchell, December 2008 – January 2009.

Brown Pelicans in Myrtle Beach Brown Pelicans in Myrtle Beach

Upper photo: On a gray December day, brown pelicans fly in a line formation as they skim the wavetops.

Lower photo: A few minutes later, a second group wheels and circles. Just after this photograph was taken, they dove into the water and remained there for a short period. Apparently the pelicans had spotted a school of fish and had stopped to feed.

Brown Pelicans in Myrtle Beach

Another pelican patrol passes overhead on a crisp, cold January day.

The Eastern Brown Pelican (Pelicanus occidentalis) is the only non-white pelican species, and is found in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana. Once listed as an endangered species, its population numbers are now greatly improved. Louisiana honors the Eastern Brown Pelican as the state bird, and also calls itself “The Pelican State.”

In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where the above photos were taken, the bird was honored by the renaming of Alder Street (on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base) to Pelican Avenue (now part of Seagate Village).

This guide to Myrtle Beach is sponsored by Mitchells Publications.