Brown Pelican plunge dives for food (Leica digiscoped image)
I've seen the relationship between Brown Pelicans and Laughing Gulls many times in the past, but I don't think I'd ever photographed it. I watched the antics of these birds for nearly an hour when I first arrived in Galveston and thought I'd share the story here. As you likely know Brown Pelicans "plunge dive " for their food diving into the water head first to capture their prey. Upon completing their dive they bring the top of their head out of the water warily watching for would be fish thieves as the water drains from their distended pouch.
adult Brown Pelican with pouch distended after a successful plunge for food
Of course it didn't take long for the "pirates" to enter. Sharp-eyed Laughing Gulls would wheel over to try and capitalize on the pelican's bounty.
Despite the gull's thievery, the patient Pelican still enjoys the "last laugh".
How many of you have watched this behavior?... (feel free to comment) It's quite fun to stop and watch some of nature's little "mini dramas" even if none of the stars are considered "marquis" players! ;)