June 22, 2010

Normally I like to point my camera at things that no one else is pointing at. When I started “Pelican Dreams” I had no idea that brown pelicans would be at the epicenter of the front-page environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico—so soon after being taken off the Endangered Species List. Pelicans mirror our stewardship of the environment, particularly our coasts, and it doesn’t look good for them in Louisiana. The Gulf Oil Spill will become part of the film: one of the myriad problems they encounter while trying to find food, migrate, and reproduce. But I’m also interested in their personalities, and last month I was able to spend more time with a lonely pelican named Morro. His two companions had recovered and flown away, and Morro was left with chickens, a goose, a duck, and…his friend in the mirror. (He has a bad wing that isn’t healed enough for sustained flight.) I filmed him bringing sticks to his buddy, preening alongside him, looking behind the mirror to see where he was, and just standing there contemplating another pelican. I feel like I’m actually getting to know this bird, and I already love him.

A pelican studying his reflection



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