was sweet but she did have a temper. She came from Ventura, bedraggled
and frightened. Her left wing was wrapped with fishing line and
from a hook, maybe, her foot was torn. Despite her injuries, there
was a toughness, a determination, and she recovered to bond with
Her air of gentleness and apparent timidity could be deceptive.
Although she usually hung behind her pal, “Half-foot”
could stand up for herself, snap warningly at younger pelicans
and snatch fish aimed for others, ‘though never from “Red.”
Even so, there were days when she would be off by herself, withdrawn,
and one wonders what was said, what happened between these two
was the first....
adventuresome and always at the first fish feed sitting,“Red”
adventured out every morning doing the rounds, and would often be
followed by his companion, “Half-foot."
They were not always together, but often they were. “Red”
had a damaged wing and seemed standoffish, but when his friend was
sick last year, when she wouldn’t eat and had to be isolated
to be tube fed and hydrated, it’s not a stretch to say that
“Red” mourned and was worried. He hung around her enclosure
until she recovered and they returned to their mostly on-again, sometimes
standoffish relationship. He was among the strongest, but even the
most fit, pelican as well as human, are brought down by pollution.
elegant and friendly but without a particular friend, was found
on East Beach. “Blue” was a quiet personality with
such a damaged wing that he couldn’t be released. He
was a gentle and passive creature, had to describe — probably
only another pelican could have done him justice.
he was sick, as he was occasionally, and as June nursed him back
to health, he would be patient, not struggling against the volunteer
holding him, seeming to recognize the good will of another species.
Associating mostly with other adult males, “Blue” helped
teach that there are many different ways of pelican being.
was handsome and quite an alpha male in character. He associated only
with the adult males: in the year or so at the pond he had had no
steady friend — until he got sick. And then Blue-Red stayed
with him, the two heart-breakingly inseparable.
An intelligent bird — particularly skilled at catching fish,
snapping loudly his beak — he caught on quickly to feints, teaching
others, for instance, the pelican next to him, especially, how to
do similarly. His right wing was severely damaged, perhaps from a
fishing line. He would never fly again, but he was patient and quite
friendly with the other pelicans.
- She was a particularly gentle and private creature and was found
at Faria Beach, Ventura County. She was the only pelican to arrive
in the middle of a volunteer party! Found by the Camarillo Animal
Control, she was brought to June’s in October 2002, with a dreadful,
sickening wing injury, probably intentionally caused. Her injury healed
surprisingly quickly, but it took months for her to be trusting, to
associate with the other pelicans. Kimberly became a perky, quite
flirtatious sweetheart of a bird.
Because of an endower’s generosity, a gift of $5,000, a life
was saved — surely, all the pelicans that June and the other
volunteers at the pond have cared for for months and years deserve
a solo traveller who came from Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara with a
fishing line injury. “Double_Purple” was an alpha male
type: dominant, and rather aggressive about fish. He had a wing injury.
Cat and Bird Clinic, Santa Barbara veterinarians, avian specialists,
thought it might heal and the wing would be functional for flying.
Despite weeks of wraps, that did not happen. He was at the pond for
about a year a half and often stood by himself. Last winter he became
friendly with “Kimberly.” The “beaking” (definitely
a non-technical term) shown here with her, is equally definitely a
sign of affection. Perhaps because of that connection, “Double_Purple”
mellowed and was accepted by the others and accepted them, too.
for the next page
A PELICAN IN FISH FOR A YEAR: have good karma and a tax deduction,
© Betsy Robertson Cramer, 2004, all rights reserved.