Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Monday, September 05, 2011

Pelican Workshop - with Australian Seabird Rescue

The good people of the South Coast Branch of Australian Seabird Rescue organised a workshop on Saturday.

I went along at the suggestion of my friend, Kirsten, who knows I grew up handling small birds (under my father's Bird Banding permit). I have not had any dealings with big sea birds, like Pelicans. Time I learnt something about them, including the fact that Pelicans smell nice and clean (which I thought unlikely, but which I now agree with). 

To me they seem to smell like "Ocean Breeze" air freshener (salty with a hint of dried sea weed).

Julie ran the Workshop - in fact she did a huge presentation - all day long, really, apart from a couple of breaks and a bit in the middle when the Pelicans took over, with a little help from some Sea Gulls.

Pelicans and Silver Gulls awaiting their invitation to take part.

The first Pelican to try her part.

Julie with a female Pelican

This is how they are held safely. Beak and Pouch displayed

Rhonda gives a hand
Pelican - with a healthy eye.

And there she goes, safely returning to the gang.

And the Silver Gulls start the clean-up process.

Underwing of a Fairy (Little) Penguin specimen.

Head and beak of an Australasian Gannet.

Beak of a Fairy Prion -a relative of the Petrels and Muttonbirds
Fairy Prion showing how elegant and dainty this Seabird is.
It was an interesting and instructive day. Thanks to all the other ASR Volunteers as well, who helped make it an interesting day.


mick said...

Pelicans can be huge! How heavy are they? It would be a very interesting day.

Anonymous said...

told you that you would like it. Pelican are far more friendly to hold than LBB's


Missy said...

That would have been a wonderful day. They are such beautiful birds.

Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Mick, Kirsten and Missy.
It really was a very interesting workshop.
Pelicans are relatively light and fluffy - for their size. Not at all like a frozen Turkey prepared for Christmas dinner.
They weigh about 4 Kg, but spread over such a large surface, they seem "light".
They have "flotation sacs" or what the SRA people referred to as like "Bubble wrap". That is only relevant when floating on water.
Their beak is long and powerful, but not a dangerous weapon to humans. Different for fish, however. But it is a scoop, mostly. It does have a hook on the end, but it is really for gripping a slippery fish, not for ripping or tearing. In that sense, it differs from a Hawk's beak.
Kirsten is right in that a Currawong is far more difficult to handle. Their beaks and really powerful claws can inflict major damage. By contrast, a Pelican's beak is so long, it is not able to exert much pressure on one's hand. Feet are flat paddles. Wings are powerful so the handling technique always involves an arm over the wings and under the body, to stop it flapping.
Thanks for your comments.