Published on April 3rd, 2018 in the Miami New Times:
At Pelican Harbor Seabird Station, a wildlife rehabilitation center in North Bay Village, two birds of a feather do a lot more than just flock together.
Pepe and Enrique, both American brown pelicans from South Florida, have spent nearly two decades as a devoted same-sex couple. At the beginning of breeding season this past December, “the boys” — as their caretakers refer to them — built a nest together in the corner of the large pen where they live overlooking Biscayne Bay.
Normally, a male pelican seeking a mate performs a courtship dance and offers a stick to a female. If she accepts, the pair collaborates to build a nest, defend it, and raise their young. Pelican nests are typically less than a foot tall.
Pepe and Enrique’s nest, meanwhile, stands more than two feet tall. It’s not the first one they’ve built, but definitely the largest. The couple takes turns: One sits in it, while the other perches on a branch a few inches away. Sometimes they sit in it side-by-side.
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