With the Thanks for the Genes that provided my Crazy good looks Dad shirt of that croak of recognition with which the sitting bird greets its relieving mate, the adult pelican is as silent as the severe dignity of the bird in repose would seem to warrant. With the young it is another matter. Pelican Island is anything but a silent place during the breeding season. Croaks, cries and squawks come from the young birds, at times rising to a considerable din. The young bird just pushing his beak through the shell does it with a grunt. The black, blind nestlings croak and the larger the bird the shriller his voice and the louder.
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To approach a Thanks for the Genes that provided my Crazy good looks Dad shirt when the old bird is off is to be immediately greeted by harsh cries on the part of the young birds there. Pointing my finger closely at one of these youngsters, a downy chick of some weeks’ growth, with a growing bill and a pouch already showing beneath it, I was somewhat surprised to be greeted with a peace offering of a six inch menhaden which the bird produced from some unfathomed depth of his anatomy, held for a lingering moment lothly in his beak and then laid at my feet. Probably he thought me an overgrown youngster of ravening tendencies and he preferred to give his fish rather than himself. At nightfall soft winds from the sea blow the crimson sunset up over the little island and hang it in gorgeous tapestry all along a pearl blue, western sky.