Travel Theme: Four Brown Pelicans

Four Brown Pelis perched up high in the swaying branches.


I’ve often marvelled at how they keep their balance and even manage to sleep standing on a branch. Surely it must be exhausting having to hold on so tightly so as not to fall. Well, apparently their talons have a pulley system of tendons so that the bird’s foot closes and grasps automatically as the ankle and knee joints are bent. They can only release their grip once the limb is straightened, so instead of having to expend energy holding on for dear life, as we humans would if we were clinging to a branch, a bird’s magical system simply locks their talons in place. How cool is that?

Have a great Sunday. If you want to see more ‘Fours’, just visit Ailsa’s Travel Theme here.





65 comments on “Travel Theme: Four Brown Pelicans

    • Thanks so much, Liz. Haha…. I’d not thought about that question. Google however, has an answer to every question: “Ducks have very little muscle in their feet, mainly tendons. This means that the muscle which makes them move is further from the feet and better insulated, and there’s less in the feet to keep warm. Ducks also have a very clever circulation system, where warm blood going down to the feet goes closely past the cold blood coming back from the feet. This is called a counter-current heat exchange as heat is exchanged from the hot blood to the cold, meaning that the birds do not lose too much heat through their feet.There is some suggestion that they also make an anti-freeze compound in their feet called Ethylene Glycol, which stops the blood in their feet from freezing by lowering it’s freezing temperature. Natural anti-freeze chemicals are often seen in fish that live in freezing waters.” πŸ™‚

  1. I’ve often wondered why such big heavy looking birds choose to sit in trees, but then there is the safely aspect I guess…nice pics of the pelicans!

  2. Having mostly lived near water, I’ve seen lots of pelican but I didn’t know that interesting fact Sylvia. Wild turkeys would often sleep in the trees at the edge of the woods at our farm in New Hampshire…that was some site to see as they were so large.

  3. I never knew that was how they grip on those trees. Now I know! Wait until I tell me daddy. I bet he doesn’t know. Have a great Monday my dear friend. XOXO – Bacon

  4. I like how you go a step further and inform us of such fascinating stuff, Sylvia. Who would ever guess this about their talons?
    The picture has a hazy and relaxing feeling in its details. Thanks, dear. ❀
    (Maybe I need a nap?!) πŸ™‚

  5. I got one of the best photos of my life once, back in the film days but my camera was stolen with the shot in it. It was rows of Pelicans, staggered on the telephone wires alongside of Bodega Bay. You’ll just have to take my word for it…of course, I could be accused back then of “photographing under the influence” πŸ˜‰

      • Oh for sure. Especially because it was on the very first leg of a long “vision quest” type vacation! I used cheap little instamatics for the rest of that trip, but of course, they were nothing like that Nikon and all its lenses! I never could afford to replace it. I just have a little point and shoot Canon now but I love it…except for missing the distance shots. The telephoto is not that great! You sure capture some beauties!

  6. I really love this picture. It is almost like a painting work. It is pleasing to look.

    I think they were designed to allow them to take a nap or rest while hanging on the limb like that. I guess they can quickly fly off when there is any threat. I am wondering though whether they do they ever have talon lock syndrome i.e. the talons do not release πŸ™‚

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