I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’d always thought that when waterborne birds of prey entered the water, they did so in a sleek and streamlined manner.
That was until I was able to photograph a pelican purposely pursuing breakfast one morning at the Outer Banks.
Naturally, the pelican couldn’t cooperate by being close enough to shore so that I could end up with images good enough to post in the galleries, but it was entertaining nonetheless.
So there I was, shooting away as the purposeful plunge progressed (notice that for some reason I’ve decided it’s time use the letter “P” a lot?) towards the water.
It wasn’t until I was able to see everything on a computer screen that I realized that I managed to catch a pelican at the point of surface penetration…
At first I thought this was a speck on the lens, or worse, my sensor. Surely it wasn’t a bird, because, well, it looks like it’s going to crash, and crash bad.
But that wasn’t the case at all…
As I zoomed in, I realized that my timing was fantastic – its’ beak is just breaking the water.
And I realized that all of my perceptions about grace and aerodynamics and a sleek entry were, well, quite simply, pelican poop…
This isn’t anything close to graceful…
It’s not sleek. It’s not aerodynamic.
I’m sure there’s a purposeful reason behind pelican posture at the point of aquatic entry – but it escapes me.
I can’t help but wonder how in the world this entry goes for the pelican. Logic makes me wonder why this doesn’t tear the poor pelican to pieces.
Maybe it helps with rapid deceleration?
Maybe I saw a mutant band of pelicans that pursues an alternate form of dives?
Maybe these birds are just rugged and strong and virtually indestructible?
Maybe they’ve purposely pursued physics in an alternate perspective that places prodigious force over grace and aerodynamics?
And maybe I’m simply amazed that this is just how a pelican works, because within a few seconds, this bird popped up to the surface and rode the waves until it took off in pursuit of its’ next course.
Did this picture perhaps prompt a change of your perceptions about pelicans?