The Pelican (photo by David Cloud)
The pelican cannot straighten its neck, because its eighth vertebra is joined with the seventh and ninth.
Pelicans live in every continent except Antarctica and build their nests in colonies.
The brown pelican fishes by plunge-diving headfirst into the water. The accompanying photo taken from a bridge in Florida captures a brown pelican in a dive. Its sharp eyes can see the fish from 60-70 feet in the air, in spite of the glare of the water, and it has the amazing ability to time its plunge and judge its angle perfectly to capture prey. It hits the water with such force that fish under the surface are momentarily stunned, and when its bill touches the water, the pelican pushes its legs and wings back to create more force (Elise Willitt, “The Biogeography of the California Brown Pelican,” San Francisco State University, 2001). There are air sacs under the bird’s skin to cushion the impact, to help it swim back to the surface, and to help keep it afloat. The pelican’s bill is sensitive and helps the bird locate fish in murky water.
The most distinctive feature is its pouch. A famous limerick says, “A wonderful bird is the pelican, his bill can hold more than his ‘belican,’” referring to the fact that its pouch holds about three gallons of water, whereas its stomach can hold only one gallon. The amazing bird uses the pouch as a net to catch fish. After scooping up its prey, it contracts the pouch to empty the water, then jerks its head back to slide the prey down its throat. A hook at the end of its upper bill helps it grip slippery food. The second photo accompanying this article shows a pelican swallowing a fish.
The opening and closing of the pouch is controlled by a complex set of tongue muscles. By contracting and relaxing the muscles, the bird can flutter its pouch at a rate of 200 times a minute as a cooling mechanism.
The pelican has a gland at the base of its tail that produces waterproof oil that it uses to coat its feathers to keep them from becoming waterlogged.
The pelican is a great flier and can float beautifully on thermals that rise from the water.
To fly from a sitting position on the water, the bird must flap its large wings and literally pound the surface of the water with both its feet in unison to gain enough speed to lift off.
A group of flying pelicans is called a “squadron.”
Sharing Policy: Much of our material is available for free, such as the hundreds of articles at the Way of Life web site. Other items we sell to help fund our expensive literature and foreign church planting ministries. Way of Life's content falls into two categories: sharable and non-sharable. Things that we encourage you to share include the audio sermons, O Timothy magazine, FBIS articles, and the free eVideos and free eBooks. You are welcome to make copies of these at your own expense and share them with friends and family, but they cannot be posted to web sites. You are also welcome to use excerpts from the articles in your writings, in sermons, in church bulletins, etc. All we ask is that you give proper credit. Things we do not want copied and distributed freely are items like the Fundamental Baptist Digital Library, print editions of our books, electronic editions of the books that we sell, the videos that we sell, etc. The items have taken years to produce at enormous expense in time and money, and we use the income from sales to help fund the ministry. We trust that your Christian honesty will preserve the integrity of this policy. "For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward" (1 Timothy 5:18).
Goal:Distributed by Way of Life Literature Inc., the Fundamental Baptist Information Service is an e-mail posting for Bible-believing Christians. Established in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario, of which Wilbert Unger is the founding Pastor. Brother Cloud lives in South Asia where he has been a church planting missionary since 1979. Our primary goal with the FBIS is to provide material to assist preachers in the edification and protection of the churches.
Offering: We take up a quarterly offering to fund this ministry, and those who use the materials are expected to participate (Galatians 6:6) if they can. We do not solicit funds from those who do not agree with our preaching and who are not helped by these publications. We seek offerings only from those who are helped. OFFERINGS can be mailed or made online with with Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or Paypal. For information see: www.wayoflife.org/about/makeanoffering.html.
Way of Life Literature
Publisher of Bible Study Materials