The Pelicans are here in Tillamook County – big, beautiful, and in higher numbers than most locals can remember. Apparently, they didn’t get the social distancing memo. It’s all part of their annual migration and soon they will be gone, heading south when things get cooler around here. Cabo San Lucas seems to be a favorite destination for the group, and we can’t argue with their reasoning.

Everyday for the past month, they have been giving us a spectacular show. Extremely proficient fishers, a California Brown Pelican catches about four pounds of fish a day. There’s something satisfying, at an almost primal level, watching prehistoric birds (whose features have changed little in nearly 40 million years) nosedive into the water from a height of 60 feet to catch its prey. With their beak pouch (or guiar) fat with a fish, the bird will tilt its head down to drain the water out before tilting it back, and swallowing its victim headfirst. The local birds have been giving these fantastic dinner shows every sunset since early July.

 While they won’t win any dance contests on land, they’re surprisingly graceful flyers. Especially considering they stand four feet tall and have wingspans that reach seven feet across – surprisingly, they are the smallest of the seven pelican species worldwide. Brown Pelicans will often fly in formation (known as squadrons), swoop down and glide just inches above the surface of the water. They are taking advantage of the cushion of air known as ground effect, which is created by their large wings against the smooth surface of the water. This technique allows the large birds to fly more efficiently, thus requiring less energy. Besides, it just looks cool.


Tillamook County has many natural wonders to explore and learn about. It’s one more reason we think it might just be the best place to live. Let us help you find your perfect next home here at the coast.



Photography by: Sean Mumey

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