Who Done It?


These tracks were found at low tide on a sand bar in Netarts Bay on the Oregon Coast in September.

Photo by Dennis Deck

What animal is this? [ View Answer ]


You are looking at left and right foot prints from a bird that stood facing the top of the photo.

Focus on the track on the left. Note that unlike most birds with webbed feet (e.g., ducks, geese, and gulls), this bird has four toes connected by webbing instead of three. This form is known as totipalmate. The track is about 7 inches long so this is a big bird. In fact, this was a brown pelican.

A flock of these pelicans stood here for a couple of hours waiting for the right stage of the tide. As the flood tide begain to strengthen, the flock lifted off and began to feed at the mouth of the bay, diving into the water to engulf small fish with their bills.

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