Sunday, April 26, 2009
a pelican surprise
I saw this pelican family today when I was out walking Martti's dogs, Musti and Tassu. They were in the bay beyond the security fence. To get there you have to pass this old sluice. The old logs bordering it have years of moss covering them, cat tails choke its opening to Lake Superior, and birch trees grow though its mossy banks.
[click to enlarge]
The pelicans were sunning themselves in a spot of water surrounded by ice, ring-billed gulls and a paddle of mallards.
Because they were at a distance, and because I wasn't expecting to see pelicans, I first thought the birds were a family of large gulls. But then when I compared them to the gulls around them, I surmised, Oh my goodness! Pelicans! Of course, my camera does not capture close-ups, so my pelican photos are not as clear as others'.
As I stood on the edge of the bank, a herring gull fearlessly flew in to terrorize the pelican family. Up the pelicans flew, and round and round they glided and bunched together in the sky, chased by the herring gull, who was doing its best to try and clip their wings. The aerial chase looked like a sky ballet, with a bit of drama. Although heavy and clumsy looking, in flight, this family of pelicans were elegant. The pelicans pretended to fly off to the east, but soon circled back and down, down, down, they settled themselves, right back to the exact water spot where they had been.
I saw my first pelican of the spring in Sand Bay at Couchiching in the Fort Frances region last weekend, which I told you about. That pelican was solitary; this was a family. Mom and dad pelican had large bumps on their beaks, the 3 others were juveniles, somewhat smaller in size with less bumpier bumpy beaks. The large bumps on the beaks of the mom and dad pelican are season specific:
"During the breeding season, both males and females develop a 3 inch by 3 inch (7.6 by 7.6 cm) bump on the top of their large beak. This conspicuous growth, which evidently indicates the bird's interest in breeding, is shed by the end of the breeding season."
The bird vision of pelican is spontaneity. Respond immediately to new challenges and opportunities, says Pelican when it comes into view. That is according to the Bird Signs Guidance & Wisdom From Our Feathered Friends 52 Cards & Book by G.G. Carbone and Mary Ruzika. Look skyward for inspiration. The answers may be revealed at night. Drink more water; eat some fish. Pelicans have a keen instinct to know when to move before the tide changes. Don't get stuck in routine! Get some drama in your life! Toss aside your schedule and go have some pelican fun.
...after my marking. And my taxes. And preparing a course. Then, I will take up the pelican call....