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

To: Stephen Ambrose <>, Birding-aus <>
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Pelican stories for the future - Ockham's Razor
From: John Leonard <>
Date: Fri, 1 May 2009 15:58:23 +1000
And I've heard another to supplement your number 4.

When Pelicans find inland water they mount afternoon thermals and rise
to extreme heights. Other Pelicans (alerted by signs such as nos 1-3
below) also climb thermals where they are and can see (from enormous
distances), the inland Pelicans doing to same. They then travel

John Leonard

2009/5/1 Stephen Ambrose <>:
> 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

John Leonard

"I rejoice that there are owls." Thoreau

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