Beware of the Pelican!
7 Comments »2nd December, 2006; Category: Bird Behaviour, Birds in the News, Pelicans
I’ve always had a deep respect for the pelicans of this world. Sitting on a park bench quietly eating my picnic lunch (a meat pie from a wonderful bakery across the road) it was quite disconcerting to have an Australian Pelican waddle up and stand only a metre in front of us and eyeball us – or at least our lunch.
Snail over at A Snail’s Eye View writes poetically about pelicans. Then she goes and shatters the peace by including a video of a London park dwelling pelican with a taste for pigeons!
Check it out here:
- A Wonderful Bird is the Pelican. Be warned – the video clip is not for those with delicate stomachs.
A related article I have written about aggressive birds can be found by clicking here.
Anthea wrote about aggresive Pelicans on the birding forum Birding-Aus:
I heard this story from the Gold Coast – from a local vet summoned by hysterical woman to rescue a patient – Chihuahua puppy (fresh from its vaccinations) was taken across the road onto the beach. Amused itself rushing and yapping at Silver Gulls. Pelican counter-rushed and snapped. Escaped with pup, leaving Vet wondering what the rego tags and flea-collar would do to the pelican…
I have also seen film of them snapping up rats on a rubbish-tip with deadly speed and accuracy. In 1978 my parents, holidaying by the Murray, had to hastily move their picnic onto the car bonnet when one moved in on them. (There was a huge Pelican influx at the time, after Lake Eyre dried up and thousands of refugee Pelicans moved out).
[…] Beware of the pelican […]
I have been rescuing and caring for pelicans for over 15 years and have heard the story a thousand times of the person who knew the person who lost the chihuahua to the pelican…….
Yes I have seen the birds take other small birds and eat vegetation, especially if food was short. But I find it hard to believe with their fleshy pouch that often gets torn open by fishing hooks that an animal with claws like a dog or a rat couldnt rip itself out of the pouch and until I see it with my own eyes – it is a myth. I have travelled this country far and wide and have always been drawn to the pelicans in the area, including Lake Eyre and sorry the stories are just that – STORIES!
You also have to remember that if the birds are being fed in your area, then they are used to things being thrown at them – which is normally food, so if a puppy was to jump out of arms it’s not all together impossible that the bird wouldnt think that you are throwing it food……..I have seen this happen with a seagull that was knocked towards the pelicans by a fish that was thrown down at the Entrance Pelican feed and the pelican grabbed it but soon spat it out.
Thanks for your contribution Cathy.
The video clip of the pelican taking a pigeon shows that they will – in desperation – eat something like that. I’m not surprised that the story of dogs being taken by pelicans is a myth – we Aussies love a tall story.
For the attention of Cathy!
Sorry Cathy, but you are wrong!!!!! We were on our honeymoon in 1999 and went for a walk on Broome jetty. Because it was cooler in our van parked in the shade, we left our little chi there. Thank goodness or it might have been our little chi that got taken. The pelican was sitting on the railing on the jetty. In front of us was a lady walking a little tan chi on a red collar and lead. Suddenly the pelican swooped, grabbed the chi and flew off with it, the red lead flying out behind it as it flapped away! The lady wasn’t holding the chi’s lead tightly, (it was only a small chi) and wasn’t expecting this huge bird to take off with her baby. She promptly fainted and everyone rushed to comfort her. There was nothing to be done of course. The pelican was long gone. Made me realize I had to carry my little one when around large pelicans or even birds of prey. You just don’t realize how quickly things can happen unless you witness it yourself!~
“I’ve always had a deep respect for the pelicans of this world. Sitting on a park bench quietly eating my picnic lunch (a meat pie from a wonderful bakery across the road) it was quite disconcerting to have an Australian Pelican waddle up and stand only a metre in front of us and eyeball us – or at least our lunch.”
This happened to me, only the Pelican got my pie. I was mugged by a Pelican!
They can certainly be quite confronting.