Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Pelicans of Peurto Vallarta

The pelicans on the beaches in Peurto Vallarta were very comical, but they were also very efficient fishers. They would infest any boat or structure anywhere near the water, watching the activities like awkward old men. When they took to the air, they were transformed into more graceful objects and we watched them delicately float ten or twenty feet above the surface of the water until they spied a fish and then quickly dive into the water and come up with a meal.

Below, I caught a pelican just as it splashes into the water. It looks rather clumsy because rather than slicing cleanly into the water, they more or less plop onto the surface. All you can see are the wings. What you don't see is the long neck and long beak stretched out underwater to capture a fish. Click on the picture to embiggen it to see a little of the drama.

Although there were zillions of pelicans, no shortage to be sure, it was sad to see one dead on the beach. Why was it dead? It had got caught in fishing line. I saw this numerous times in Yellowstone, birds caught and drowned due to some careless fisherman who threw or abandoned his line in the water. No telling how many birds die every year due to being tangled in fishing line, but I'm sure it's a lot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We have a lot of pelicans in Charleston also. When the shrimpers and other fishing boats come in from the ocean they are right there fighting for every bit of food thay can scoop up! They can be very noisy and agressive, but fun to watch.

Catch you later. Luke