The American white pelican is the only pelican species in Montana. Pelicans have been around for at least 30 million years, indicating that ridiculously flexible lower beaks have an evolutionary adaptation. This may be due to the ability of the beak to consequently hold food items that firmer beaks could not, as our special project on fishing pelicans demonstrates. In fact, pelicans are so good at fishing that they have often fun afoul (sorry) of fishermen who were obviously jealous of their skills. Populations of these birds are threatened by habitat destruction, pollution, and...well, if you've been visiting this site for long you know the rest of the story. If left alone, pelicans can live for more than 50 years.