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Ref : S14193

Theme :  Plants - Animals in Space  (177 images)

Title : Under a rainfilled sky

Caption :

(12/17/1999) --- Under a rain-filled sky, Mark Epstein holds a rescued white pelican while Kat Royer fixes a leg band on it before releasing it at the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Epstein and Royer are with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The bird was found covered in crude oil from a contaminated ditch in northern Indiana in November, and was rescued by a local Police Department, treated, and flown to the Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge in Orlando, Fla. for care and rest. The pelican, dubbed 'Fisheater' by its rescuers, will be let go to join a flock of about 30 other white pelicans that are wintering on the refuge. White pelicans inhabit marshy lakes and along the Pacific and Texas coasts. They winter from Florida and southern California south to Panama, chiefly in coastal lagoons. They are frequently seen flying in long lines, flapping and sailing in unison, but also ride rising air currents to soar gracefully in circles. The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, which encompasses 92,000 acres that are a habitat for more than 331 species of birds, 31 mammals, 117 fishes, and 65 amphibians and reptiles. The marshes and open water of the refuge provide wintering areas for 23 species of migratory waterfowl, as well as a year-round home for great blue herons, great egrets, wood storks, cormorants, brown pelicans and other species of marsh and shore birds, as well as a variety of insects

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