Pelican playtime

By | Category: Travel destinations
it's my fish; no, it's mine

it’s my fish; no, it’s mine

The sight of a sixty plus pelicans, cavernous beaks wide open and skyward, awaiting a fish treat is something that needs to be seen to be believed.

It has been a 3.30pm afternoon occurrence at The Entrance, about 60 miles north of Sydney in Australia for many years. A little amphitheatre provides a place where children and adults can sit as the first birds arrive. Almost as though they have an in-built clock, more and more arrive and waddle out of the sea and onto the land, ungainly strutting around completely oblivious of the people within inches of them. Do they fluster or get concerned? Not in the slightest. Will they move so you can get closer to the feeding area? No. You move for them.

gather round visitors!

gather round visitors!

Pelicans are large birds and their elongated beaks look as they could deal any person they took against with a painful peck. But they seemed remarkably controlled. Even amongst themselves, there was little aggravation. Not all the birds that were at The Entrance, came to their 3pm afternoon fish tea. Some swam sedately in the water and others rested on the offshore sandbank . It was obvious that the birds did not rely on the handouts as all would be scrambling to the fish otherwise.

A local charity feeds the birds, the fish being supplied by a local fish shop, Jimbo’s Quality Seafood. There is a collection to support the charity or you can buy a pelican soft toy, the money going towards helping the birds. And they need it.

First Aid

First Aid

One had fishing wire wrapped around its leg which was removed by one of the volunteers, another firmly holding the wings and beak away from the “pelican nurse.”

Feeding time has gone on for decades. It draws visitors by the hundreds every day and then they go off to enjoy the small children’s funfair or the shark in a bus.

Yes, a single-decker bus nearby has a shark – called Frankie – in the back. The preserved great white, five metre monster was caught in the seventies and, for the last few years has been part of a travelling display teaching people about marine life.

all beaks skyward in harmony

all beaks skyward in harmony

The big attraction at The Entrance is the beach or beaches. This is where Sydneysiders come for weekends or short breaks despite the fact that the beaches are no better and no worse than some of Sydney’s most famous ones like Manly, Newport, Narrabeen, Avalon and Palm Beach. I won’t mention Bondi as that rules itself out by being too crowded and far more commercialised.

Judging by the accents from the watching visitors, tourists from overseas have found The Entrance and pelican feeding time as well.

For more about The Entrance, click here.




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