Great questions of bird behaviour #37

To: "'Philip Veerman'" <>, "'Martin Butterfield'" <>
Subject: Great questions of bird behaviour #37
From: "Mark Clayton" <>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2014 16:33:43 +1100

As one of the “local, older, especially banding folk” referred to by Philip Veerman, I am at a loss to see what pelicans eating dogs has to do with banding and having a printed version of Australian Birds. Please explain!




From: Philip Veerman [
Sent: Sunday, 12 January 2014 3:19 PM
To: 'Martin Butterfield'
Cc: 'COG List'
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Great questions of bird behaviour #37


Yes it is outlandish. I notice later on the same page (top of column 2) it says "mammals, small dogs probably (Campbell & Sonter 1985., M.A. Cameron" - is that Professor Margaret Cameron?)" I don't know about a on-line version but surely some of the local, older, especially banding folk, would have the printed version of Australian Birds.




-----Original Message-----
From: Martin Butterfield
Sent: Sunday, 12 January 2014 12:59 PM
To: Philip Veerman
Cc: Denis Wilson; Geoffrey Dabb; COG List
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Great questions of bird behaviour #37

Philip is quite correct in his reference to the material in HANZAB.  


However I had always believed that the reports of a Pelican eating a small dog were an urban - or possibly coastal - legend.  I have been unable to track down an on-line version of the reference cited in HANZAB (Campbell J and C Sonter "Australian Birds 20:1-3) which from other references is apparently titled "Unusual food items of pelicans".  


Does anyone have a copy of the article or otherwise know the provenance of the story?






On 12 January 2014 12:00, Philip Veerman <m("","pveerman");" target="_blank">> wrote:

Was that an Australian Pelican? Although it may not make a lot of difference. HANZAB describes them eating mainly fish but also "anything from insects and small crustaceans to ducks and small dogs". Including herding ducklings and young Silver Gulls and even taking adult Silver Gull, similar to how Denis says. Admittedly Pectoral Sandpipers or indeed any wader is not mentioned.




-----Original Message-----
From: Denis Wilson [mailto:m("","peonyden");" target="_blank">]
Sent: Saturday, 11 January 2014 10:45 PM
To: Geoffrey Dabb
Cc: COG bird discussions
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Great questions of bird behaviour #37

Geoffrey's  "Great questions of bird behaviour #37" included the question:
"Have any of you ever swallowed one of those little Pectoral Sandpipers accidentally?

Not sure the "accidentally" is appropriate, Geoffrey.

I witnessed a Pelican in St James Park, London, while waddling along, amongst some other birds,.reach out
and deliberately grab and hold a Rock Dove, and then flap noisily and awkwardly to the waters edge, so it could
swallow the bird, with a gulp of water to help it "go down the hatch".

With Pelicans, just about anything is possible, I reckon.

Denis Wilson

Some things in the universe are greater and deeper
than human intelligence.
It is the Power of Nature which bewilders us.

"The Nature of Robertson"




Martin Butterfield

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