Monday, June 4, 2012

a wonderful bird is a pelican

digital illustration by Art Winstanley, ©2010 Arthur A. Winstanley

"A wonderful bird is a pelican, 
His bill will hold more than his belican. 
He can hold in his beak 
Enough food for a week; 
But I’m damned if I know how the helican."

Even though that poem is attributed to Ogden Nash, I've heard it said that the "pelican poem" was written around 1910 by Dixon Lanire Merritt, editor of Nashville’s newspaper,
"The Tennessean".

Now, I don't know what it is about me and pelicans. But for as long as I can remember, I've been captivated by them. Which I sometimes think is pretty weird for a kid who grew up in Queens, N.Y. and Jersey City, N.J. where there just aren't any pelicans to be found.

The fact is I never saw one up close enough to touch until I moved here to Key West as an adult.
Yeah, they'll let you get close up and personal. You've just gotta move slowly, think mellow thoughts and have a bit of fish in your hand.
(slow moving good vibes aside, I'm pretty sure it's the fish that's the deal maker)

Anyway, I can and have watched the little buggers (well really, they're not so little) for an hour at a time just flying and fishing or sitting on the rail at the pier.
They really are cool birds.

Have you ever seen how they hunt and catch fish?
Check this out. . .
You've gotta wonder; how can he do that, several times twice a day, every day of his avian life and not get a headache?

". . .I’m damned if I know how the helican."

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