How long does it take to swallow a fish?!?

Right before I left the boat ramp at Gandy bridge, a boater walked over to the sea wall and threw out a fish.  About 20 pelicans all dove in and tried to get the fish. It was pelican chaos for a few seconds. At first I couldn’t tell which one got the prize but then I noticed a lone pelican with a tail hanging out of his pouch. I thought that was it and he’d swallow it and be done in a few seconds.

I don’t know whether he was just savoring what could have been his last meal for the night since the sun was going down fast or whether it was just too big for him to swallow. He kept flipping it around in his pouch.

He had it sitting in his pouch for a while and kept flapping. Maybe he was waiting for  the fish to die first.

Then another pelican flew over to him. Was he going to try to steal it? That big fish was bulging out of his pouch.

The pelican flew away from the other one and continued to float by himself for a few minutes. He still had it in his pouch.

Now he was flapping hard and trying to swallow it.

Finally, just as the sun was setting, a big gulp!

As I was snapping pictures, the fisherman said “You should come here on the weekends. The place is full of people tossing fish out and the pelicans go crazy. You’d get a lot of pictures then.” Sounds great but I know feeding pelicans is not good. They get too use to people and get caught in fishing wire and hooks, etc. I didn’t even ask him why he threw back that one fish. It looked like a big fish.

6 thoughts on “How long does it take to swallow a fish?!?

  1. Very nice photos and I appreciate your reminder about not feeding them. It really isn’t good to feed any birds or animals out in the wild. We once went to a state park and found a marshy pond near a picnic area. There was a group of about 18 Canada geese, adults and very young who came up to us. Canada geese don’t just swim up to people! So I suspect picnickers were feeding them and I cannot imagine what kind of “garbage”. As bad as I felt for not having any goose food, it is better that they do not get used to people feeding them.

  2. Great series! Was the fish whole fish just gulped down still flapping/wriggling inside the bird’s pouch and stomach!?

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