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Old Jun 15, 2007, 12:40 PM   #1
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Scott posted the following as a reply in Roger's most recent pelican thread (the copy in the Pentax forum). In order that I notdistract from Roger's thread, I am starting a new onefor my response, whichseizes a timely opportunity to address a vital topic, and adding itto the Wildlife Photography forum as well for those who do not visit the Pentaxforum.

snostorm wrote:
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Hi Roger,

Great scenery, terrific pelican shots. Did you switch to a wide angle to get the scenic shot, or just use the 50mm end of the Bigma?

Although I know that they move through this general area, I've never seen one around here. Coincidentally, one of our local wildlife rescue and rehab Vets was telling me how she just recently released one that was found on the shoreline in downtown Chicago with some kind of illness last summer. He had recovered pretty well by fall, but not enough to survive the migration, so she kept him over the winter until she was notified that the pelicans had returned to their nesting area up north of here. She released him in Wisconsin in a remote area only accessible by air boat. She said that he probably had gotten blown off course in a storm, and was too weakened by the illness to fight the wind. I saw the video of the release, and there were hundreds of them up there. It was pretty impressive when they were getting close with the boat and most of the flock of big white birds took off, circled around, and came right back to their nests.

On a more somber note, there was a story that made its way around the Net a few months ago about a pelican IIRC it was in London. In the middle of the day, surrounded by citizens and tourists, it hopped over and snatched one of the numerous pigeons that were milling around, then just sat there for quite a while with the pigeon sitting in its bill. The pelican would open its mouth a bit, and you could see the pigeon looking around. A number of people got shots of this. Then all of a sudden, the pelican tossed his head back and swallowed the pigeon in one gulp -- to the horror of everyone who was watching! Oh well, that's nature . . . I'd feel bad about it if it wasn't a pigeon -- they're so overpopulated in this area that they call them sky rats , and the City of Chicago even instituted a program where they released Peregrine Falcons in the city to try to control their population. This ploy didn't work as the falcons took off for the suburbs where there's a lot more open area.:-)

Very cool stuff seeing more about these big guys and their natural habitat.

Scott
Scott, I saw one of the photos of the pigeon in the pelican's bill when it was circulating on the internet, but I never saw the story. At the time there was unfounded specultaion tha the photo had been photoshopped. It is most unusual for a pelican to eat anything other than fish. This sounds like an abnormal situation - I doubt the pelican would have gone after the pigeon if the oportunity hadn't presented itself.

There are probably any number of causes of pelican illness, abnormal behavior,and unnaturalmortality, and I have had experience with a few -- pesticides and oil ingestion fromoil spills are the two that have affected Brown Pelicans the most in California, plus this year they and many other species have been hit hard by domoic acid poisoning from red tide organisms. When I was a graduate student in Florida there was an unprecidenteddie-off of White Pelicans - they were literally dropping out of the sky all over the place. FWS brought us one to autopsy, and I was assigned to the unenviable task (which I still vividly remember) - I won't go into the gory details, but the parasite load the bird was carrying was absolutely stupendous - nothing could have lived for long in that condition. Why so many were afflicted at the same time and in the same way has never to my knowledge been explained. Life in nature is not always as pretty as the pictures we see.

Photographers and birders need to be aware that injured birds they might encounter can be dangerous - the birdsdon't know that people are trying to help them - they are hurting and will defend themselves instinctivelyagainst what they perceive as a threat. Long billed and long necked birdslike herons and cranes are especially dangerous - they will strike first at shiny objects - like eyes! During the American Trader oil spill a number of years ago a good samaritan attempted to rescue a weakened Brown Pelican that crashed onto a highway and for his trouble got his face ripped open from his ear to the corner of his mouth by the nail at the end of its bill! When the bird rescue people go after a pelican they carry a towel to wrap around its head so its eyes are covered - same goes for other largebirds. And it goes without saying that the talons of hawks and eaglescan be viciousweapons, too.

Ihave seenthat photographers who have recounted here recent rescues of birds and other animals have behaved prudently, but lest some others be tempted by good intentions to act impulsively without thinking first, I thought it worthwhile to bring up the topic.
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Old Jun 15, 2007, 9:22 PM   #2
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penolta wrote:
Quote:
Scott posted the following as a reply in Roger's most recent pelican thread (the copy in the Pentax forum). In order that I notdistract from Roger's thread, I am starting a new onefor my response, whichseizes a timely opportunity to address a vital topic, and adding itto the Wildlife Photography forum as well for those who do not visit the Pentaxforum.

snostorm wrote:
Quote:
Hi Roger,

Great scenery, terrific pelican shots. Did you switch to a wide angle to get the scenic shot, or just use the 50mm end of the Bigma?

Although I know that they move through this general area, I've never seen one around here. Coincidentally, one of our local wildlife rescue and rehab Vets was telling me how she just recently released one that was found on the shoreline in downtown Chicago with some kind of illness last summer. He had recovered pretty well by fall, but not enough to survive the migration, so she kept him over the winter until she was notified that the pelicans had returned to their nesting area up north of here. She released him in Wisconsin in a remote area only accessible by air boat. She said that he probably had gotten blown off course in a storm, and was too weakened by the illness to fight the wind. I saw the video of the release, and there were hundreds of them up there. It was pretty impressive when they were getting close with the boat and most of the flock of big white birds took off, circled around, and came right back to their nests.

On a more somber note, there was a story that made its way around the Net a few months ago about a pelican IIRC it was in London. In the middle of the day, surrounded by citizens and tourists, it hopped over and snatched one of the numerous pigeons that were milling around, then just sat there for quite a while with the pigeon sitting in its bill. The pelican would open its mouth a bit, and you could see the pigeon looking around. A number of people got shots of this. Then all of a sudden, the pelican tossed his head back and swallowed the pigeon in one gulp -- to the horror of everyone who was watching! Oh well, that's nature . . . I'd feel bad about it if it wasn't a pigeon -- they're so overpopulated in this area that they call them sky rats , and the City of Chicago even instituted a program where they released Peregrine Falcons in the city to try to control their population. This ploy didn't work as the falcons took off for the suburbs where there's a lot more open area.:-)

Very cool stuff seeing more about these big guys and their natural habitat.

Scott
Scott, I saw one of the photos of the pigeon in the pelican's bill when it was circulating on the internet, but I never saw the story. At the time there was unfounded specultaion tha the photo had been photoshopped. It is most unusual for a pelican to eat anything other than fish. This sounds like an abnormal situation - I doubt the pelican would have gone after the pigeon if the oportunity hadn't presented itself.

There are probably any number of causes of pelican illness, abnormal behavior,and unnaturalmortality, and I have had experience with a few -- pesticides and oil ingestion fromoil spills are the two that have affected Brown Pelicans the most in California, plus this year they and many other species have been hit hard by domoic acid poisoning from red tide organisms. When I was a graduate student in Florida there was an unprecidenteddie-off of White Pelicans - they were literally dropping out of the sky all over the place. FWS brought us one to autopsy, and I was assigned to the unenviable task (which I still vividly remember) - I won't go into the gory details, but the parasite load the bird was carrying was absolutely stupendous - nothing could have lived for long in that condition. Why so many were afflicted at the same time and in the same way has never to my knowledge been explained. Life in nature is not always as pretty as the pictures we see.

Photographers and birders need to be aware that injured birds they might encounter can be dangerous - the birdsdon't know that people are trying to help them - they are hurting and will defend themselves instinctivelyagainst what they perceive as a threat. Long billed and long necked birdslike herons and cranes are especially dangerous - they will strike first at shiny objects - like eyes! During the American Trader oil spill a number of years ago a good samaritan attempted to rescue a weakened Brown Pelican that crashed onto a highway and for his trouble got his face ripped open from his ear to the corner of his mouth by the nail at the end of its bill! When the bird rescue people go after a pelican they carry a towel to wrap around its head so its eyes are covered - same goes for other largebirds. And it goes without saying that the talons of hawks and eaglescan be viciousweapons, too.

Ihave seenthat photographers who have recounted here recent rescues of birds and other animals have behaved prudently, but lest some others be tempted by good intentions to act impulsively without thinking first, I thought it worthwhile to bring up the topic.
I have to agree, the best intentions can really create problems if you don't know what you are doing.


TOTALLY WACKY roger

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Old Jun 16, 2007, 4:00 PM   #3
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penolta,

are you a zoologist?
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Old Jun 16, 2007, 4:11 PM   #4
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royce10 wrote:
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penolta,

are you a zoologist?
Yes.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=80
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