October 31, 2020

Pelican perched on a pole


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People driving past the Prospect Point roundabout in the morning will probably have noticed a pelican, perched high on a light pole.

Environmental Field Officer with the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, Stuart Mailer has identified the bird, named locally as Peter, as being a Brown Pelican, and probably a juvenile of around one year old.

“Its not a native breeding bird here, it’s a migratory bird, and they are generally short-stay visitors. Occasionally juveniles overwinter here,” Mr Mailer said.

Mr. Mailer said he had no idea why the pelican seems to like sitting on the top of a light pole, but has noted that it is always on either the second or third pole from the roundabout.

Environmental Field Officer with the National Trust for the Cayman Islands Stuart Mailer

“I have seen it flying over the swamp nearby, but I think it likes to watch the traffic,” he added.

Mr. Mailer says the Lantern-Point pelican isn’t the only Brown Pelican staying here. He has seen at least three others foraging for food in North Side’s Malaportas Pond.

Although it is still a juvenile bird, Mr. Mailer said the bird is not likely to get any bigger, but with an estimated body length of four feet, and a wingspan of around six, Peter is already a very big bird.

During the rest of the year, Brown Pelicans typically live all round the tropical and sub-tropical coasts of South America and several other places in the West Indies, but Mr. Mailer believes there isn’t enough of the right kind of fishing here to attract more of the birds.

“They like to plunge-dive, and come up with a bill full of fish. They forage in shallow waters such as ocean bays and lagoons and they nest in colonies on small protected islands,” Mr. mailer said.

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