Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Visitor

On the day before Christmas, we awoke at about 8 a.m. to the sound of one of our parrots squawking over and over and over and one of the dogs barking in a different tone than usual. I got up and looked out the back door trying to figure out what in the world was in the back yard!

There just near my clothes line was a large, fully grown Pelican starring down our dog, Desi, who must have caught the bird briefly before I went to check on the commotion as he was missing some tail feathers.

The bird seemed not much the worse for wear but we feared something was wrong with him. We have never seen a Pelican up this far on our property and this bird had walked all the way from the beach!

We finally got the dogs into the house and went outside to check on the bird. He was slowly walking up the hill and as we approached he would turn and snap his huge beak at my husband. Our presence did not seem to bother him to any extent except that when we got too close he would make a short flight to another area. He did not seem capable of long flights and appeared exhausted. We did not see any blood or apparent injuries or fish line tangled in his wings but it was evident that his behavior was highly unusual.

My husband decided that we should get behind him and try to get him to go down the hill and back to the beach. We were successful for a short distance and then Mr. Pelican decided that he wanted to go in his own direction. Because my husband felt the bird would be better off closer to the water, he approached speaking softly so as not to frighten him. Then, with the aid of a long pole, he managed to place it in such a position that the head and neck were to one side while he approached. He finally grabbed the bird's beak and picked him up. I had thought that there would be a struggle and the bird might flay about injuring itself; but it was relatively calm once in my husband's arms.

We took the bird down the hill to our dock and set him down to see what he would do. He stood in one position for a while and then settled down to rest. We later left to go to town for some last minute shopping to arrive home about 1 1/2 hours later only to find the pelican still resting on the dock.

We kept our dogs in the house for much of the afternoon so as not to disturb him, but later in the day some stray dogs came through the beach area and the pelican panicked and flew out into the water, paddling around leisurely. After that we did not see him again.

At the end of the day, we still did not know why he had appeared as he did. Maybe he was old and getting ready to die, or exhausted from some long flight or just sick. We just hoped that it was nothing serious and that he would rest, renew his energy and continue on with his life.

1 comment:

  1. I grew in in Key Largo and would sometimes feed my bait to the pelicans on slow fishing days.

    A wonderful bird is the pelican,
    His bill can hold more than his belican.
    He can hold in his beak
    enough food for a week,
    But I’m damned if I see how the helican.