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....


Anonymous said...

hurry is short and fun is waiting. what does your book say about Grakles? I saw 4 at my feeder last week.

northshorewoman said...

now, grackles are interesting birds. Together, a flock of grackles sound like an old rusty clothesline being drawn in.

The Bird Signs cards and book ignore this boisterous, iridescent scamp! So, I had to pull down from my shelf Animal Speak and look under "Feather Magic."

Here's what it said:

Grackle magic tells us to look at what is going on in our life differently. Now, if you had 4 grackles visit you, this may mean you need to look in all 4 directions for guidance: north, south, east and west.

The feather magic of grackles tells us that situations may not be as they seem, especially if one's emotions are involved. The colour of the grackle tells us that our emotions are colouring our thinking process. Grackle comes to warn us to get back and deal with things in a clear-headed fashion.

The noisiness of grackles tells us that maybe we are doing too much talking and need to reflect instead and do something, not just hash it over in our minds.

Clear the emotions, says Grackle.

Or then again, it may be that you just had 4 grackles come to your bird feeder.

here are some nice photos:

Merche Pallarés said...

Interesting post on the pelicans!!! Hugs, M.

northshorewoman said...

the pelicans were truly beautiful to watch.

I wonder if there are pelicans in Spain?