I don’t consider myself a bird watcher, but I observe all life, including water fowl. Now you may have noticed that the pelican in my Florida Floats My Boat series looks a little different than the pelicans you see perched on pilings in the Caloosahatchee and coastal waterways around Matlacha, Pine Island and Sanibel twelve months a year. Our resident big bills are brown pelicans. But with the snow birds come snowy white pelicans, who like our northern and Midwest winter visitors, leave in the Spring.

White pelicans are double the weight and have a wingspan that is 50 percent longer (9 versus 6 feet) than our local brown pelicans. And whites don’t divebomb when they’re on the hunt. They school fish in groups and feed along the edge.

The point of this exercise is not to provide a lesson on the different types of pelicans you’re likely to encounter in Southwest Florida waters. Rather, it’s to urge you to be a better observer – to be more aware of the people, places and animals you see as you go about your daily routines. We get so mesmerized trying to do that we all too often forget to be in the moment – to be part of life. As I told students at Florida SouthWestern State College several weeks ago, make your life a work of art. All it takes is being present in the moment and thinking outside of the box.