Early last year, former Nomad Tanzania safari mangers Jeffrey Condon and his wife Kerrie Condon took in a baby pelican that had washed ashore during a storm, alone and distressed.
The couple nursed the baby pelican back to health and named him “Bigbird”. Being nearly 100 miles from the nearest flock of pelicans, releasing Bigbird into the wild on his own was not an option.
Instead, the couple had no choice but to raise Bigbird and prepare him for the wild. To start, the couple needed to teach Bigbird to fly — so in front of Bigbird, the couple would run up and down the beach over and over flapping their arms like wings.
Eventually, Bigbird caught on and was able to fly on his own. Check out the video below to see Bigbird learn to fly…
For pelicans in the wild, being a strong flyer is essential for survival.
The next step in preparing Bigbird for the wild was teaching him to provide for himself — in this case, being able to catch fish on his own.
Great White Pelicans like Bigbird often hunt in packs, herding the fish into tight packs in the water until they start jumping in the air. Since Bigbird is without a flock, he faced an especially tough challenge in learning to fish for himself.
With patience, Jeffrey took Bigbird every morning on his kayak to get him some fish and try to teach him to fish on his own.
Like flying, Bigbird eventually caught on and is now able to fish without Jeffrey’s assistance. Check out the video below to see Bigbird learn to fish…
The experience between Jeffrey and Bigbird has led to a close friendship, as you can see in the video.
While Bigbird has long since adopted the camp as his flock, he still lives very independently, roaming the surroundings and hunting on his own.
Learn more about Great White Pelicans here.