Pelicans perching on poles

To: "'Stephen Ambrose'" <>, <>
Subject: Pelicans perching on poles
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2019 17:25:18 +1100

Fine, such places likely only allow arrival and departure on one side, which might be even more difficult for them than an elevated light pole. Even so, that observation probably also fits the same idea that I put forward and you supported, that they favour perching (and my impression loafing) in such places because it is hard for people or ground-based annoying animals (such as dogs) to disturb them there.




From: Stephen Ambrose [
Sent: Monday, 21 January, 2019 4:51 PM
To: 'Philip Veerman'; 'Geoff Ryan';
Subject: RE: [Birding-Aus] Pelicans perching on poles


Hi Philip,


Australian Pelicans roost and rest on rock shelves and large limestone boulders on the vertical and near-vertical limestone cliffs of the Shoalwater Bay islands (Penguin Island, Seal Rocks, etc), on Garden Island in Cockburn Sound, and on the Point Peron Peninsula on the mainland, all locations 45-50 km south of Perth.  I spent a lot of time watching seabirds on and around these islands and at Point Peron  from my early teens to mid-20s.  I think that perching on lamp posts is just an extension of that behaviour. While many of these rocky substrates had a larger surface area than a lamp post for pelicans to land on, they often have uneven surfaces, making it difficult for pelicans to maintain their footing or balance.


Stephen Ambrose

Ryde NSW



From: Birding-Aus <> On Behalf Of Philip Veerman
Sent: 21 January 2019 10:44 AM
To: 'Geoff Ryan' <>;
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Pelicans perching on poles


Well that can be true. Taking off from a lamp post is easy and this may compensate for the effort it takes of getting up there. Pelicans are great soarers once they get high and use the warm air for lift, also great at low flight over water but there is a lot of energy involved in getting those first several metres from the ground or water up to a pole. But maybe that is not actually difficult. I still think the real advantage is that they can sit there undisturbed, just other words for exposed the pelican to dangers. Next question is: are there places where there are many pelicans and high roosts available and a lack of disturbance from people and dogs and do they regularly do this in that situation. Yes Albatross have that problem (has anyone seen an albatross perched on a pole?). Pelicans are not great at running. They can become airborne from a stationary start from the ground with a jump into the air and deep flap. Not sure what real dangers it would be subject to ……. sharks in the water, in which case, starting flying is a big benefit over not flying at all.




From: Birding-Aus On Behalf Of Geoff Ryan
Sent: Monday, 21 January, 2019 6:59 AM
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Pelicans perching on poles


One of the major problems of being a pelican is taking off from land or water - this requires much energy and exposes the pelican to dangers. Taking off from a lamp post is as simple as a step into free air. Pelicans, like many vultures and albatross, are like gliders and need assistance to launch. 

Geoff Ryan

<BR> Birding-Aus mailing list
<BR> To change settings or unsubscribe visit:
<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU