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Photo: Pelicans put on an air show

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Look at these two elegantly gawky brown penguins, flying in perfect synchronicity – an amazing feat, given their massive 9-foot wingspans! To be sure, those impressive wings give them the ability to swoop and soar with aplomb as they scour the sea for a meal.

Remarkably, once they spy a fish to catch, from as far as 60 feet above the water, they plunge dive with such force that they actually stun their prey. Thankfully, they are skilled divers with many adaptations to keep them from breaking bones and otherwise injuring themselves ... all the better for their unique brand of surprise attack.

Pelican populations are doing well now, but they had a close call with the introduction of insecticides like DDT to the ecosystem – their numbers dwindled dangerously low and they were listed as endangered in 1970. When DDT was banned in 1972, their numbers began to gradually increase; in 2009 they were removed from the endangered list, and now they fill the sky more amply, putting on show for all to enjoy.

Thank you to richardliebert for the great photo!

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