Brown Pelican Princeton Print

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Pelecanus occidentalis

Flora: Mangrove, Rhizophora mangle

Print size: 26 1/4" x 39 1/4"; image size: 24 1/2" x 36 1/2"

Princeton Audubon Limited Edition - produced 1985

Audubon probably drew this adult pelican in the Florida Keys in April or May 1832. Landscape artist, George Lehman, painted the mangrove limb.

The brown pelican is a ponderous bird, but with its six-and-one-half-food wingspread has a powerful flight which it alternates with short glides. The bird carries a large pouch under its lower bill and has an appetite for fish as large as the pouch. American children learn of the brown pelican through a well known bit of doggerel that begins: "What a wonderful bird is the pelican-Its beak can hold more than its belly can,..."

A long line of these birds flapping and sailing, often in unison, is a familiar coastal sight. When fishing, the birds fly aloft, spot the schools of fish, then head downwind, pull back their wings, and plunge beak-first with a grand splash.

Audubon wrote: "The brown pelicans are as well aware of the time of each return of the tide, as the most watchful pilots. Though but a short time before they have been sound asleep, yet without bell or other warning, they suddenly open their eyelids, and all leave their roosts, the instant when the waters...resume their motion."


Princeton Audubon prints are direct-camera facsimile lithographs of the Robert Havell Jr. (1793-1878) engravings for The Birds of America (1827-38). Princeton's Double elephant Folio prints are issued in limited editions of 500 or 1500 prints. All are numbered and have a seal in the bottom margin to demonstrate their authenticity.

Printed on heavy Mohawk paper that is recommended by the Library of Congress for archives, the paper is specially toned to match the average paper color of the antique originals.
Item Number: 1729