Pelicans perching on poles

Subject: Pelicans perching on poles
From: Anthea Fleming <>
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2019 20:38:21 +1100
Hi Philip,
  When I first started visiting Banyule Billabong c. 1980, it was kept pretty full for the benefit of cattle in adjacent paddocks. A few Pelicans swam there. There had once been a power line through the paddocks from which a couple of tall timber poles remained.  These were favourite perches for the Pelicans.  I often watched one come in to land with beautiful precision - sometimes slowly, but now and then quite briskly - just stopped flying at precisely the right moment, with never a sign of having to re-balance.  I admired this flying feat - pity I had no camera in those days.
    What also makes me wonder is how Great Cormorants manage to perch on HV power-lines.
   All the best,
Anthea Fleming

On 19/01/2019 6:25 PM, Philip Veerman wrote:

I went to Batemans Bay this week (NSW SE coast, down from Canberra, for those not local). A thing that I noticed and usually have noticed there, is that the Pelicans really like to perch on light poles there. It seems to me a difficult and strange thing for such heavy birds to do. They can hardly be looking for food from there. Given that even birds like Galahs sometimes have difficulty perching on these rounded smooth steel structures and Pelicans don’t have gripping feet and they would need to achieve almost zero speed in flight to perch there. So is that a local habit or widespread? At San Remo near Phillip Island, there is a bit of a tourist attraction of feeding of Pelicans, but they fly in to the car park area, I did not notice them perching on poles.  Surprisingly a web search typing in “Pelicans perching on poles”  provided many pictures


but these are mostly stumps or piers not high light poles. Many are Australian Pelicans and the American Brown Pelicans which I suspect is not so big.




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