The return of the brown pelican to Yachats is a harbinger of summer. The brown pelican is the quintessential Oregon Coast bird, right up there with the gull.

With a wingspan of up to 8 feet and weighing 6 to 12 pounds, these birds are hard to miss. Pelicans will congregate in large numbers on the rocks as they roost and while hunting for food. Flying in V-shaped formations, they fly over the waves then dive from up to 30 feet into the ocean to scoop up fish in the expandable pouches under their beaks.

Brown pelicans hold a special place in our hearts. We love watching them plunge from daring heights into the water. Seeing their population grow from the brink of extinction in the ‘70s to where it is today is particularly gratifying. This video by PBS shares amazing footage of pelicans as they fly north from Baja California over spouting and breaching humpback whales.