Evidence indicates that the pelican, in a form that is very similar to the one we see today, has lived in coastal habitats for 35,000,000 years. The brown pelican has suffered dramatic population declines because of pesticides, especially DDT. Ironically, the worst disaster occurred in Louisiana, where the brown pelican is the state bird. Control of the use of pesticides has helped the brown pelican, and populations in Texas and California that were in danger of dying out completely are beginning to make a comeback. In Louisiana, birds transplanted from Florida have repopulated the old nesting sites, and the future of the brown pelican looks hopeful. With care, this remarkable bird can soar above our world's wetlands for another 35 million years.
©National Wildlife Federation®
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