July 7, 2011

When young pelicans are finished with their rehabilitation – they’ve eaten lots of fish, they’re waterproof, any injuries they’ve had are healed – sometimes Dani brings them to her yard for awhile, where they release themselves when they’re ready. They fly from perch to perch, higher and higher: from the cages, to the wooden gate, to the house roof, and finally to the sky, where they circle around, get their bearings, and soar west to the ocean, less than half a mile away. It’s a beautiful sight. Last week we filmed several birds releasing themselves, and recorded Morro’s reactions. He watched them take off, then hopped up on a banana palm stump and flapped his wings, making several short fly-hops to the grassy yard. It’s as far as he can go with his bad wing. In the photo above Morro has settled back into his afternoon routine as a yardbird, sitting on a small table next to Dani in the hammock, very interested in the stick she’s holding. A few seconds later, Morro grabbed the stick, shook it, and flung it away. I had no idea before I started this film how much pelicans have in common with dogs.

Dani and Morro

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