American White Pelican Soaring Flight Times and Altitudes Relative To Changes in Thermal Depth and Intensity. Shannon, H., D.; Young, G., S.; Yates, M., a.; Fuller, M., R.; and Seegar, W., S. The Condor, 104(October 2001):679, 2002.
American White Pelican Soaring Flight Times and Altitudes Relative To Changes in Thermal Depth and Intensity [link]Website  abstract   bibtex   
We compared American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) soaring flight times and altitudes to model-produced estimates of thermal depth and intensity. These data showed that pelican soaring flight was confined to the thermal layer, and that the vertical extent of the soaring flight envelope increased with increases in thermal depth. Pelicans soaring cross-country between foraging and breeding sites flew mainly within the middle of the thermal layer, regard- less of its depth. In contrast, pelicans engaged in wan- dering flight near foraging sites typically confined their flight to the lower thermal layer. Pelicans soaring cross-country likely flew higher in the thermal layer to maximize cross-country soaring performance, while pelicans soaring locally presumably flew lower be- cause additional altitude was unneeded for gliding short distances. An analysis of pelican flight times rel- ative to model-produced estimates of thermal intensity suggested that pelicans began soaring as soon as sufficiently strong thermals developed daily.
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 title = {American White Pelican Soaring Flight Times and Altitudes Relative To Changes in Thermal Depth and Intensity},
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 year = {2002},
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 keywords = {american white pelican,avian soaring,cross-country soaring,flight altitudes,flight times,pelecanus erythrorhynchos,performance,thermals},
 pages = {679},
 volume = {104},
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 abstract = {We compared American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) soaring flight times and altitudes to model-produced estimates of thermal depth and intensity. These data showed that pelican soaring flight was confined to the thermal layer, and that the vertical extent of the soaring flight envelope increased with increases in thermal depth. Pelicans soaring cross-country between foraging and breeding sites flew mainly within the middle of the thermal layer, regard- less of its depth. In contrast, pelicans engaged in wan- dering flight near foraging sites typically confined their flight to the lower thermal layer. Pelicans soaring cross-country likely flew higher in the thermal layer to maximize cross-country soaring performance, while pelicans soaring locally presumably flew lower be- cause additional altitude was unneeded for gliding short distances. An analysis of pelican flight times rel- ative to model-produced estimates of thermal intensity suggested that pelicans began soaring as soon as sufficiently strong thermals developed daily.},
 bibtype = {article},
 author = {Shannon, Harlan D. and Young, George S. and Yates, Michael a. and Fuller, Mark R. and Seegar, William S.},
 journal = {The Condor},
 number = {October 2001}
}
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