Volume 6    Number 9

Death from Above: Pelicans of Bonaire

Pelican flies from its perch near Calabas Reef at Bonaire

Pelicans are fish hunters. These big, beautiful birds spend their days resting on perches overlooking the ocean. When one sees a fish in the shallow water near its perch, it will dive into the ocean to catch it! We saw lots of Pelicans during our visit to Bonaire. We had a lot of fun seeing the antics of these birds.

Pelicans must have good eyesight to see small fish in the water. Their job is made easier by the clear ocean water near the islands of the Caribbean. From a high perch overlooking the sandy bottom near shore, a small fish will be silhouetted against the background of bright white Caribbean sand.

When the Pelican sees its prey near the surface of the ocean, it will jump from its perch and fly into the water headfirst to catch its prey in its beak. As you probably know, Pelican's have skin flaps like a big pocket on the bottoms of their beaks. This skin pocket lets them scoop up a big basket full of water to catch their fish.

Pelican splashes into the ocean near Tori's Reef at Bonaire

This second picture shows the Pelican splashing into the water to catch its prey. This picture was taken from the shore near the bright blue water near Tori's Reef along the southwest coast of Bonaire.

ReefNews President Jonathan Dowell took this picture using a Canon 10D digital camera with a Canon 28-105 mm zoom lens in an Ikelite housing with an Ikelite strobe.



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