From the busy buzzing bees at the apiary at Kingscote, we next ventured to the Penguin Centre of Kangaroo Island which was located just around the corner to catch the feeding of the pelicans. Unlike other more docile Australian creatures like kangaroos and koalas, pelicans are fairly gregarious and sociable birds. They can often be found flocking next to each other and either swimming or flying close to each other. Well, it was pretty fun for us to catch them fobbing each other off in their attempts to stuff their face – or bills rather – with fishes!
Here’s our story told in pictures for your viewing pleasure.
The setting at Kingscote Wharf was serene, placid and picturesque as we approached it, with the Sun low in the horizon at 5 pm.
When in doubt, just follow the crowd and we decided to make our way to the rocky outcrops here, joined by both people and pelicans alike.
“Smile and say cheese!”
Slowly, the crowd gathered and so did the feathered fisher-birds. The guy in the funny hat, red shirt and jumpers at the bottom is called John, the resident pelican feeder.
I believe that this friendly dog named Roy belongs to John. They came together in the same pick up truck.
As the excitement mounts, these pelicans (and humans) appear to be focusing their attention on the right. Something is obviously happening there.
Yes, there certainly is. John begins by introducing us to the world of the pelicans and their behaviours, as well as how he has to spend his own money to purchase the fishes to feed them. I suppose this is why each of us should pay A$3 to participate in this spectacle.
As John begins to dig his glove hands into the blue box of fishes, you can see the anticipation of the birds surrounding him, poking their long beaks in his direction.
The feeding has begun, but wait, that isn’t a pelican that John is feeding but a skua or a petrel (I think). Anyway, the airborne avian was perched comfortably on John’s hat. Now we know what that is for!
This pelican here got the biggest mouthful of fish, stretching the lower part of its bill beyond belief. It must be gloating with pelican glee. However…
…its moment of feeding glory did not last very long. Before you know it, he spilled that catch of sashimi, and this resulted in a feeding frenzy amongst its friends and family members.
Here’s a video showing you some of the action which I managed to capture that day:
Now you know what Charles Darwin meant by survival of the fittest!
After the show was over, members of the audience made their way back to their lodgings.
The pelicans also decided to swim and fly back home, looking peaceful, innocent and unperturbed. “Me greedy? Nah, I am just swimming around minding my own business…”