Silly Saturday: Running start

Ever since our parents took my younger brother and me on a trip to Florida when we were boys and I first saw pelicans in flight, I have had a special place in my heart for their dichotomy of comical ungainliness on land and their heartbreaking beauty and grace in flight. While on a whale-watching cruise in California a few weeks ago, I caught this brown pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) as it executed its takeoff from a floating rest on the water’s surface, which requires the aid of a running start to build up the speed to get airborne so that its powerful wings can finally take over. Oh, to be able to fly like that!

Running start 5350


About krikitarts

Welcome to Krikit Arts! I'm a veterinarian; photographer; finger-style guitarist, composer, instructor, and singer/songwriter; fisherman; and fly-tyer. Please enjoy--and please respect my full rights to all photos on this Website!
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6 Responses to Silly Saturday: Running start

  1. Joan says:

    So glad you are back on – I remember the pelicans on Leech Lake. They are a special bird. So glad you are back on – missed your I will call them articles. Merry Christmas

  2. On the subject of pelicans and childhood, I can’t resist quoting a little poem I remember reading in college. It’s in French (where it rhymes and has meter), but I don’t know if you read French, so I’ve followed up with a simple English translation (which has no meter and doesn’t rhyme).

    Le pélican ~ Robert Desnos

    Le capitaine Jonathan, etant âgé de dix-huit ans,
    Capture un jour un pélican dans une île d’Extrême-Orient,

    Le pélican de Jonathan, au matin, pond un oeuf tout blanc
    Et il en sort un pélican lui ressemblant étonnamment.

    Et ce deuxième pélican pond, à son tour, un oeuf tout blanc
    D’où sort, inévitablement, un autre, qui en fait autant.

    Cela peut durer pendant très longtemps si l’on ne fait pas d’omelette avant.


    Captain Jonathan, who is 18 years old,
    One day captures a pelican on an island in the Far East.

    The next morning, Jonathan’s pelican lays a pure white egg,
    And from it emerges an astonishingly similar pelican.

    And this second pelican in its turn lays a pure white egg
    From which there inevitably comes another, which then does likewise.

    This can keep going on for a long, long time unless someone makes an omelet first.

    • krikitarts says:

      I’m afraid that only if I were stranded on an island in the Far East and starving would I consider that a pelican-egg omelet would fill the bill. But thanks for the French lesson!

  3. Emily Gooch says:

    Nice capture, Gary. I’ve always had a soft spot for pelicans too after seeing my first one while living in San Diego, many years ago. I never knew how graceful and agile they can be until I saw a mass migration of them a few years ago in Long Beach, Washington. There were probably thousands… and they glided with such grace and agility with the wind, did loops, dives… it was an amazing sight.

    • krikitarts says:

      Even watching a pair of them, in perfect synchronization, is an inspiration. It’s all the more so because they are so heavy and awkward when not in their ideal element. Like so many of us, come to think of it…

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