Are You a Lonely, Melancholy Bird?
IT WOULD not win a beauty competition for birds—either for colors or for sleek design. I have seen the brown ones in Florida, U.S.A., diving to catch their fish like World War II German Stukas.* In Chile they were white, with black wings and bodies. (See photo.) They were resting in a melancholy pose on the rocks in the Pacific at Valparaiso—probably completing their digestion.
It may weigh up to 30 pounds [14 kg], be over five feet [1.5 m] long, and have a wingspan of ten feet [3 m]. It is one of the largest birds. On land it is ungainly and comical; in flight it is a delight to see, flying with apparently minimal effort. When it feeds, it can scoop up over three gallons [10 L] of water along with the fish! What is it? It is the pelican.
The pelican is found on lakes and rivers and along coasts in many parts of the world. Its long beak and huge pouch are perfectly designed for its specialized form of fishing. It plunges into the water, filling its pouch with water and fish. Then it quickly drains out the water and, gulp, down goes the latest snack.
Pelicans are mentioned several times in the Bible. Because of the bird’s fondness for lonely, desolate spots, it is used in the Bible as a symbol of utter desolation. (Isaiah 34:11; Zephaniah 2:13, 14) The Bible encyclopedia Insight on the Scriptures states: “When the pelican is gorged with food, it often flies away to a lonely place, where it takes a melancholy posture, with its head sunk on its shoulders . . . The bird assumes this attitude for hours at a time, thus befitting the melancholy inactivity to which the psalmist refers when he illustrates the poignancy of his grief by writing: ‘I do resemble the pelican of the wilderness.’ (Psalm 102:6)” So if you are ever lonely and melancholy, remember you might also resemble a pelican!—Contributed.
The Junkers Ju 87 dive bomber with a W-form cranked wing.
[Pictures on page 15]
Pelicans in Chile.
Inset: Florida brown pelican