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City of St. Pete officially names the Brown Pelican its city bird — and it’s about time

Over the years the Brown Pelican has become more St. Pete than St. Pete itself.

St. Petersburg City Council officially adopted the Brown Pelican as its city bird by a unanimous vote Thursday morning.

Mayor Rick Kriseman’s administration took to Facebook shortly after the vote to celebrate.

“BIG NEWS,” the post read. “After many years of admiring this waterfront native, St. Petersburg City Council unanimously adopted the Brown Pelican as the official City Bird.”

The post shows an image of a majestic, soaring pelican amid the backdrop of a bright blue sky and puffy white clouds.

Kriseman shared it with the simple words, “it’s official.”

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For those who have spent more than a week in St. Pete, you know that the pelican has long been a symbol of the waterside city.

Sitting pelicans are on the city seal and have been through various iterations of them. The pelicans used to be stamped on some of the city’s long gone iconic green benches. They’re on city buildings and even utility bills.

So it’s no wonder the city finally made it official.

While not all of St. Pete enjoys the actual pelicans, the city’s eastern and southern border is all Tampa Bay waterfront and there’s an extensive series of canals where residents and visitors don’t have to look far to spot a Brown Pelican.

The birds can often be seen swooping into the water to gulp up a fish. The bird even made a cameo in political discussions about building a new pier when some residents lamented about one failed proposed design, who’s going to clean up all the pelican poop? Before the old pier was demolished, the birds were a staple along the approach where it was not uncommon for an unsuspecting fisherman to lose his catch to a hungry, thieving pelican.

Even though the Brown Pelican is native to all sorts of places across North American, over the years the pelican has become more St. Pete then St. Pete itself. Now the city is officially welcoming it to the family.

 

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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