Monday, April 12, 2010

Big and Obvious

American White Pelican

American White Pelicans have returned in full force. A trip to almost any point on the Missouri River will reveal dozens of these huge, starkly white birds. Another bird that is now coming through in large numbers is the Golden-crowned Kinglet. The kinglets, though greatly outnumbering the pelicans, are not nearly so obvious. Here is a little size comparison of the two birds. American White Pelican: length, 62 inches; wingspan, 108 inches; weight, 16.4 pounds. Golden-crowned Kinglet: length, 4 inches; wingspan, 7 inches; weight, .21 ounces. By doing a little arithmetic, we find that the American White Pelican is 15.5 times longer, has a 15.5 times greater wingspan, and is 1,250 times heavier than a Golden-crowned Kinglet. The trees around here may be full of kinglets right now, but the little birds sure are hard to see. However, get within a quarter mile of a pelican, and you can't miss it.

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