March 31, 2012

Pelicans and other birds in the Royal Parks


A few weeks ago we visited several of the Royal Parks in London. The Royal Parks are Bushy Park, The Green Park, Greenwich Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, The Regent's Park & Primrose Hill, Richmond Park, and St James's Park.

We were impressed by the number and diversity of water and garden birds that inhabit the various parks.  Coot, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Crow, and Pelican were unusual sightings for us.  Our favorite were the pelicans at St. James's Park and we recorded two of the pelicans living in the 58-acre park which is located in the center of London. According to the St. James's Park website there are three Eastern or Great White Pelicans and one American White Pelican.  (A 2006 BBC article describes the population as four Eastern Whites and one Louisiana Brown.)

Of the Royal Parks, Pelicans (Pelecanus) are only found in St. James's Park where they were first introduced in 1684, a gift to King Charles II by a Russian ambassador.  The birds have been immortalized in the popular children's book A Walk in London by Salvatore Rubbino (he also wrote A Walk in New York).

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