The brown pelican was removed from the endangered species list yesterday, after reaching the brink of extinction in 1970, a combination of DDT poisoning and feather hunters. In fact, along the Texas Coast, the Eastern Brown Pelican had dropped to only a few dozen mated pairs.
I have often had an affinity for this majestic bird, watching the graceful lines as they fly in formation along the coast and occasionally dive-bomb the surf for a meal. To me, they are absolutely beautiful, and I have long awaited this good news. Over the past decade, especially, I have noticed their numbers increase so that flocks in flight are now a dozen individuals or more rather than only a few, as during my childhood.
And now, they are recovered. I couldn’t be happier.
The pelican is a symbol for self-sacrifice, devotion, and philanthropy, and has been used throughout Christendom as a symbol of Christ’s Passion and the Eucharist.