Sunday, January 8, 2012
Pelicans: Not as Harmless as You Think
Last week we went on a hike around the Lafayette Reservoir. Since it's the Bay Area, even winter is fairly mild and we enjoyed sunny weather and fairly warm temperatures. My parents like hiking there due to all the bird life (they both enjoy birding and nature in general). We saw a pretty good variety of bird species, including white pelicans most excitingly. I fantasized they had retreated to the wilds of Contra Costa county as a break from the hectic and exciting lives along the coast.
We have a good family story about pelicans. When my mother was a young toddler (around 2 years old), she and her family went on a picnic to the beach. While she was playing in the sand behind her parents, a pelican approached, and then suddenly gobbled my mother up. She was too big to fit entirely in its pouch, so her legs stuck out, but her head and most of her body were deep in the pelican's maw.
It was so sudden she didn't even have time to cry out, so my grandparents didn't notice. The pelican then tried to take off, but my mother's weight made it a difficult proposition and it was struggling to rise. Luckily for my future existence, a nearby teenage boy saw the pelican with toddler legs sticking out of its mouth, ran over, and pulled my mother out. (The pelican flew off, presumably in search of smaller prey.) She was none the worse for wear, just somewhat slimy.