Flying free

Once nearly extinct due to DDT poisoning, the brown pelican's population has now soared to almost 620,000. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which has proposed de-listing the pelican from the endangered species list, calls the bird a conservation "success story," a sentiment echoed by scientists and environmentalists.

Of course, this success story took nearly 40 years to come to fruition. The species started to rebound once DDT was banned in the United States back in 1972, and took this long to return its population to pre-DDT levels.

The proposed de-listing, which would include the California brown pelican and several other sub-species, could take effect in about a year.