RE: [Birding-Aus] Pelicans perching on poles - suggestion

To: 'Andrew Wood' <>, "" <>, "" <>
Subject: RE: [Birding-Aus] Pelicans perching on poles - suggestion
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2019 04:59:02 +0000

You refer to Europe but I am not sure if you are writing from a European perspective. Interesting and there is a parallel that Rainbow Lorikeets will roost in street trees near lights. Pelicans are big birds, very different from parakeets. I assure you that the observation on which I decided to start this, was on VERY HOT (at least high 30s C) weather, in daytime and still very uncomfortably hot throughout the night. In case you need a context, it was so hot, it was hard to sleep, even with no clothes and no cover and with the fan on.  I suggest that the majority of these coastal observations of birds in SE Australia are similarly usually hot weather.  I don’t know if Pelicans do this pole perching at night. That might make no difference to my suggestion, as people still do walk along the beach at night. Another angle that no one has mentioned. It could also be that the Pelicans are able to get off the ground into the breeze and thereby have a better chance to cool down a bit, although that seems odd as they can always go in the water…….




From: Andrew Wood [
Sent: Sunday, 20 January, 2019 3:08 PM
To: Philip Veerman; ;
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Pelicans perching on poles - suggestion


Non-native parakeets in Brussels, Belgium, roost on lighting towers because, unlike trees and most other structures, they are warm overnight when the lights are on. Might the pelicans have noticed this too - or do they only perch rather than roosting?




From: Birding-Aus <> on behalf of Philip Veerman <>
Sent: 20 January 2019 14:38
To: ;
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Pelicans perching on poles - suggestion


Thanks for all the responses. To clarify, I was not in any way suggesting that what I was seeing is unusual. Pizzey’s book mentions it. Most responses are from coastal SE Australia, so I am still not sure how widespread the habit is. I think that the strangest one is that Sandra mentioned them roosting high in dead trees at the Mugga Lane tip. I go there often (both the tip and along Long Gully road). Maybe I’m guilty of watching the road whilst driving, (lots of kangaroos there).  That is even stranger than at coastal venues. I was more angling at obtaining hints on the context for why these birds should do that. It is not as though they are Sea-Eagles looking for an opportunity to swoop down on a fish. It is not that they are getting away from other pelicans, as they even have 3 pelicans perched on 3 lights on one pole. They clearly like to do this and it has some benefit, as it is a high energy behaviour. I notice most of the venues reported are beachside communities with lots of passing, walking, running, etc humans. For now the best explanation I can offer is maybe the reason is as simple as when perched up there, they are immune from being bothered and having to walk, fly or swim away from passing people, dogs, or whatever. And they can stay there unbothered until they decide to come down. That will be my theory for now. When on the ground they sure do “appear” to act indignant at having to get out of the way. I wonder can there be any other benefit?




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