This is Big Bird, a Great White pelican who lost his flock after a storm hit Lake Tanganyika. Injured, unable to feed himself, he desperately landed at the beach of the Greystoke Mahale Camp in Tanzania, where he recovered and learned to fly again. Here's his story, according to camp owners.
It was nearly 4 months ago now that Big Bird swam in from Lake Tanganyika and promptly waddled up our beach here to the astonishment of lunching guests.
He was young but already large, maybe 3 months old then. He couldn't fish without his flock. This species doesn't dive for fish, instead they corral the fish co-operating with each other and then scoop the cornered prey into their large stretchy pouches below the bill. So we have been given permission from Tanapa, the park authority to feed him.
He didn't fly for some weeks but with encouragement he got the idea. We aren't sure how much flying he may have already done before arriving here but he was pretty shaky in his next attempts on the beach. We would run up and down flapping our arms and simulating flight for him. He would look on curiously until one day he showed us how it was done! It was short and uncontrolled and we would look away when he was landing as he seemed to not distinguish between ground and air speed coming in way too fast and endangering our beach furniture.
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