Re: [canberrabirds] Pelican stories for the future - Ockham's Razor

To: <>, "'John Leonard'" <>
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Pelican stories for the future - Ockham's Razor
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Fri, 1 May 2009 15:00:27 +1000
I've heard four anecdotal explanations for the movement of pelicans to
inland waters to breed, although I've not seen any of them scientifically
investigated, i.e. that pelicans are able to:

1.  detect changes in the atmospheric pressure associated with heavy rain;
2.  smell the floodwaters from afar;
3.  hear the sound of distant thunder associated with heavy rain, especially
ultrasonic frequencies


4. Individual pelicans disperse over long distances on wind currents and
when one detects inland floodwaters (either accidentally or intentionally),
it flies back to the coast and communicates its knowledge to others.

It would be interesting to know if any of these are true or if there are
other possible explanations. Peter is probably correct in saying that the
pelicans probably respond to a sequence of natural events, rather than just
a single stimulus.

Stephen Ambrose
Ryde, NSW


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