“Pelican Pete” I called him. I never found out his real name or even if he has a nickname but I know that he has been feeding pelicans on Kangaroo Island for some time – “every day of the year”, he said to the tune of $40,000 AUD for food for the birds. With “pelican feeder” as a job description, one needs an appropriate nickname!
We pulled in to the Pelican dock around 445pm (the pelican feeding always starts at 5pm) near the small town of Kingscote and the hungry pelicans were already waiting, some patient some not. Those not were the largest ones and they were biting the smaller ones, their huge bills wrapping all the way around the necks of the smaller birds until they could somehow wrestle free.
We certainly have pelicans in Central and Southern California – but they are no where near the size of these giant birds. Even the gulls here are huge.
Then Pete showed up with a bucket of slimy dead fish and assorted fish guts.
He parked himself in front of a microphone, confident around the birds that he feeds every day and confident in front a rapt audience. With a voice like Michael Caine and at times part Sean Connery he is a gifted orator and commands attention at the podium from both birds and humans alike.
The birds moved in closer, shaking in anticipation – or perhaps they were cold, even on an unusually warm February day.
The gulls, being more aggressive dropped on top of Pete’s hat. Seeing these bold moves, a couple of pelicans lunged up and grabbed some of the fish. Pete tried to stop them but only ended up with his entire hand and half his arm down the throat of one of these birds. Fortunately he has learned to wear thick rubber gloves.
I’ll let “Pete” take it from here:
#ad I have been commissioned by and will be working with Tourism Australia for this program and resulting content.