Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Pelican Foraging Frenzy

Have you ever seen a Pelican foraging frenzy?

If I were a Mallard or a Cinnamon Teal, or a Green Night Heron or another wetland dwelling feather friend I would be wary. 

If I were a silver or orange or yellow water swimmer I would be even more wary. More than wary, I would be afraid.

Pelicans forage in a flock; their tranquil glide a confused anticedent to a messy, floppy, splashy free-for-all with their massively powerful wings. 

A flock of foraging Pelicans form a semi-circle in which they ensue to pummel the surface of the water and scoop up fish or crustaceans and water. 

If I were the slough or stream or river I would be wary. The waves from a Pelican foraging frenzy crash or lap against the sandy or muddy banks-depending on where the sand or mud may stand. 

If I were a Killdeer or a Willit or a Stilt or an Avocet, I would be wary. 

Water churns, ripples echo, fish flea, and the Pelican foraging frenzy is an unforgiving fish herding contest. 

The prize in a pelican foraging frenzy goes to who can herd the most fish into their center. 

In a Pelican foraging frenzy water sprays and splashes, and along with unlucky fish, is collected into a wide and deep gular pouch, trapped between vertically held mandibles.

Unlike the unlucky fish, however, some water is released-as much as three gallons drain as the unlucky fish follow an unlucky path into the center of the winning pelican. 

Most are wary in a pelican foraging frenzy with the exception of the Pelican foraging winners.

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