by Michelle Turton
Easter is the start of this year’s ‘Flying Displays’ at Paradise Park, and staff are delighted to be introducing a new member to the team.
Keeper Sarah-Jane explained: “Alfie arrived back in February and we have been training him to join our mid-day flying displays which start this Easter.
“Pelicans are a really unique family of birds, with that enormous beak and a wingspan of nearly three metres they really are quite striking.
“It will take some time to get Alfie used to crowds of visitors, but he is already flying to us and we’ll be explaining our training techniques as we gradually build up his confidence.”
The shows also features Archie our Bald Eagle, little Buzby the Barn Owl, and Dino the Seriama among others.
“Alfie will soon have a female Pelican friend named ‘Hilda’ arriving and we hope that eventually both will take part in the show.”
There are 8 kinds of Pelican and the species at Paradise Park is the ‘Pink-backed Pelican’.
Pelicans swim well with their strong legs and their webbed feet.
They rub the backs of their heads on their preen glands to pick up an oily secretion, which they transfer to their plumage to waterproof it.
Their diet usually consists of fish, which can be up to 30 cm (1 ft) long, but amphibians, and small turtles and crustaceans are also eaten.