Orphaned Pelican learns to fly

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Four months ago, guests at Greystoke Mahale Luxury Wildlife Camp were treated to an unusual sight.

Whilst lunching on the beach near the camp, guests came face to face with a Great White Pelican as it waddled out of the water towards them.

Despite its large build, lodge officials soon realised that the pelican was only around 3 months old and was injured.

The lodge took the baby in and nursed him back to health, but after making a full recovery and making no attempt to leave, the staff realised that the pelican did not know how to fly.

The staff members decided to teach the pelican, known as Big Bird, to fly by enthusiastically flapping their arms and running up and down the beach.

After a few weeks the pelican got the hang of it and finally took to the air. Staff fixed a tiny GoPro camera to the bird’s head so that his first flight could be recorded.

Big Bird is reportedly still a little shaky, especially during landings, but is getting better with each day of practice.

Big Bird is also slowly learning to fend for himself without the support from his fellow mates.

Staff believe the pelican was separated from his flock during one of the frequent storms on the lake and was probably sucked into a cloud and unable to find his mates.

Big Bird has become a worldwide celebrity ever since GoPro decided that the video of his first flight, recorded on one of their cameras, was to be used as an advertisement to promote GoPro.

Staff still hope that Big Bird can be reunited with his flock one day.

Article written by  D Mulhern

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