American White Pelican
Waterbirds of immense size, white body, and black wing tips and partial trailing edge; the skin of legs and pouch and the huge bill are yellow to orange. Breeding adults have a vertical flat plate on the bill’s upper edge that is used in courtship and territorial establishment interactions; adults lose the plates after eggs are laid. Fall birds should lack this feature and have paler yellow bills. Call a hoarse grunt. In flight pelicans may either flap their wings or soar. They typically fly with their heads back on their body, not with necks extended. Large flocks flap and soar as they circle higher and higher. At a considerable altitude, they may veer off in one direction as a single-line or V-shaped pattern.
Similar species: Pelicans flying in formation may be confused with the much smaller snow goose, which usually migrates earlier in February and March. Snow geese have small heads and are black-feathered only on the tip of the wing.