Posted by: travelrat | May 22, 2009



‘A wondrous bird is the pelican
His beak can hold more than his belican.
He can stow in his beak
Enough food for a week
But I’m damned if I see how the helican’


This post was inspired, in part, by Selma’s excellent post at . It also got me thinking about the photography of my friend, Dr. Adam Kynoch, who claims to be the only person ever to visit Florida and not visit Disneyland … he makes a bee-line for one of the many wildlife reserves instead.

When I was in the Royal Air Force, we shared our station with a unit that had a pelican for a badge. They claimed the Chinese say it’s a symbol for wisdom and learning; we said it was because it had a big mouth, and didn’t fly very well.

But, that was before I actually saw one. In actual fact, they’re rather graceful in flight, and, if there’s more than one, they tend to arrange themselves in a rather pleasing formation. Even on the ground, they’re good to see … somewhere, I have a photograph showing a pelican and a flock of seagulls perched on a launching ramp on Kangaroo Island, looking for all the world like a schoolmaster teaching his pupils.

Another good place to see pelicans is along the River Murray. In 2006, while waiting for the Murray Princess at Mannum, we spent an entertaining twenty minutes trying not to share our meat pies with an over-friendly pelican in the picnic area. Feeding the birds is, in fact, strongly frowned upon, and, if the resident pelican gets too importunate, the wildlife rangers will catch it, take it away and release it well away from civilisation. But, another will soon replace it.

This photograph was taken at the Cleland Wildlife Reserve, near Adelaide. And, if I ever find the picture of the one on the launching ramp, I’ll post that, too.



  1. Now there’s no need to show off….

    Seriously though, that photo is amazing. I didn’t know the Chinese viewed pelicans as a symbol of wisdom and learning, but that makes perfect sense. They are sensible old gentlemen, I can just tell.

    How gorgeous is the guy in your photo? An absolutely spectactular moment. Thanks so much for sharing it!

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