Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hungry Pelican



In the strange bird behavior department comes this story about a pelican struggling with a frantic pigeon in its beak for more than 20 minutes before swallowing it whole.

The moment was caught on camera by photographer Cathal McNaughton, who was taking pictures of the wildlife in St James's Park.

Not surprising if you remember the old poem...

A wonderful bird is the Pelican,
His bill can hold more than his belican
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week;
But I'm damned if I see how the helican.

-- Dixon Lanier Merritt -- (but often incorrectly attributed to Ogden Nash)

15 comments:

Brooke said...

Still alive in it's stomach? YIKES!

eyesallaround said...

Wow, that's amazing. I didn't know they ate pigeons.... We need to import some here to help with the pigeon population. The hawks do the best they can, but they just can't keep up.

cube said...

brooke: reminds me of the short-lived fad of swallowing live goldfish. Ewww.

eyes: I knew pelicans were big eaters, but I didn't know they ate other birds. We have quite a few hawks that hunt around here. Beautiful birds, but they make me glad they're not preying on me.

cube said...

brooke: I watched a heron catch and eat a snake once & I saw that snake wiggling all the way down the heron's long neck.

Brooke said...

Oh, gag, Cube!

I'm glad I missed the goldfish fad... Was that when people were putting them in the platform shoes, too?

cube said...

brooke: Goldfish swallowing was originally a fad in the late 1930's, but made a brief resurgence in the early to mid 1970's. That would've been around the time of the fishy platforms.

nanc said...

this reminds me of when our kids bite off more than they can chew, and my husband tells them:

"don't let your pelican beak override your hummingbird behind!"

he's never said it to me, but i know he's thinking it sometimes...

Brooke said...

Ahh... I joined the family of man in '79, so I missed the latter fads. Heheh.

cube said...

nanc: lol!

brooke: you didn't miss much.

rgmb said...

One of my strangest memories of that poem was when I was visiting my 93 year old grandmother in her nursing home a year before she died-----she insisted on reciting this poem to me then, haven't thought of it since, until now. (that was 20 years ago) :)

cube said...

rgmb: well then, your visit to The BLOG was a fortuitously timed one
:-)

Elmer's Brother said...

let's just hope they don't poop like pigeons.

cube said...

elmer: Well, I'm no ornithologist, but doesn't it stand to reason that the larger the bird, the more it eats, and the more it eats, the more it poops?

Elmer's Brother said...

while your logic makes sense cube the reason I ask is pigeon poop can make people sick. While I was in the Navy I worked in this building that was infested with pigeons. We used owl decoys and wampadyne pigeon be gone noise makers but the only thing that worked was a Crossman.

I hated cleaning up the high bay on Saturday.

cube said...

elmer's bro: oh, I can see why pigeons are on your s*it list ;-)